Toro Y Moi
is not, as you might imagine, a classical-guitar wielding Spaniard, but the alias of Chaz Bundick, a 23-year-old musician from South Carolina. To be fair, with a name like that, Iâ€™d pick a pseudonym too, but Bundickâ€™s choice is telling: a mashup of French and Spanish (â€˜the bull and meâ€™), it hints at the fusion and confusion that marks his compositions.For his tender years, Bundick is precociously skilled at creating rich, multilayered songs, but they tend to lack character. Heâ€™s associated, like bands including Neon Indian
and Washed Out, with a newly-coined genre known as â€˜chill-waveâ€™ and â€˜glo-fiâ€™, but, as these disparate genre names suggest, itâ€™s hard to see what characterises this music other than a vague laid-back, sample-happy attitude.Causers of This
is pretty much the musical embodiment of mellow, but after eleven tracks this gets a bit samey. For all the melange of styles â€“ funk, r n b and shoegaze being particularly prominent â€“ and the diversity of sounds and samples on offer here, the tracks generally fail to distinguish themselves, their beginnings and endings sometimes proving impossible to discern.Thatâ€™s not to say some songs donâ€™t stand out. â€˜Low Shoulderâ€™ is great, really catchy and enjoyable, while â€˜Blessaâ€™ recalls Animal Collective with its soaring vocal harmonies and rich, evocative sonic textures. The next track, â€˜Minorsâ€™, canâ€™t quite pull off the same trick, always teetering on the edge of muzak. Its samples are clever and are perhaps intentionally slightly off-tempo, but after a while this starts to jar with the cascading melody they accompany. â€˜Causers of thisâ€™ showcases a promising female voice, while â€˜Freak Loveâ€™ gleefully embraces the handclap, but the same effects occur again and again. Sounds enter muffledly before surging to full volume, and then back again, like being underwater, and thereâ€™s a general atmosphere of perpetual stuck-ness. â€˜Talamukâ€™ combines vocals skilfully, but delivered in Bundickâ€™s weak, plaintive tone, like most of the album, they can only do so much.That said, Bundick is undeniably talented and this is a pleasant, if incoherent, album, when taken in small doses. Those who like their music mellow and unobtrusive will probably wallow in it, but it left this listener slightly cold.