Toro y Moi – What For? (Carpark; 2015)
Substituting the already worn-out pastiche of chillwave with the uniform sounds of reverb-laden psychedelic pop, What For? isn’t exactly a reinvention for Chazwick Bundick, aka Toro y Moi. On the contrary, Bundick has stripped his signature effervescent sound of nearly all identity and dynamism, settling instead for indie rock of the safest ilk this side of Real Estate. Being associated with the rise of a short-lived subgenre like chillwave brings with it its share of identity crises but, perhaps more importantly, it also provides an opportunity for reinvention in the form of stellar songwriting. Bundick, while not bad by any means, shows minimal growth in this respect, creating an occasionally pleasant, often aggressively drab soundscape of familiar tones and middling psychedelia, now with a heavier emphasis on fuzzy chorus-drenched guitars. What For? ends up feeling less like an attempt at injecting new life into a now-stagnating formula and more like a disenchanted shrug, its title proving disappointingly apt.
Trial Track: “Spell It Out”