Gig review: Toro Y Moi


THE music blogosphere has outdone itself since latching onto the blissful sounds of these South Carolinians and lumping them in with a clutch of other associated American bands such as Neon Indian and Washed Out, in attempting to coin a new genre name to file them all under. Hypnagogic pop? Twee-fi? Glo-fi? Chillwave, anyone? Call it what you like, but it's definitely very good.

The alias and brainchild of singer-songwriter/producer Chaz Bundwick, Toro Y Moi was born of a desire to create what he's described as "something that sounded like My Bloody Valentine hip-hop". Live, that translates as Bundwick, a diminutive 23-year-old in a T-shirt and big specs, hunched over a synthesizer and bank of effects kit conjuring up spacey drones and echoey vocals, while a bassist and drummer pounded away at his side, bringing some form to the fug.

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It all added up to a much fuller and more robust sound than that of Toro Y Moi's debut album Causers of This, which – while sublime – is so drowsy and wonky it sounds like a scratched Motown record set on the wrong RPM and stuck on repeat while someone incessantly twiddles the volume knob.

There was nothing remotely twee or chilled about the walloping, psychedelic crescendos of Blessa and Left Alone at Night. The cleaner, leaner Low Shoulders and Causers of This, meanwhile, revealed a funk band disguised beneath the squall, one with all the polish of something Teddy Riley might have produced circa 1989.

New Jack-psych-funk? Not as easy as it looks, that genre name-coining thing. But like I say, it's definitely very good.