DJ Daniel’s Review of Toro Y Moi’s What For?

Last week, Toro Y Moi released his latest album, What For?. KWVA DJ, DJ Daniel from Ambience!, doles out his opinion and compares this release to Toro’s past albums. Read on to see what he got out of the record.


In spite of his love of all things digital, Toro Y Moi‘s Chaz Bundick is a rocker at heart. His latest album What For? is a return to his indie rock roots, best showcased on his June 2009 singles collection. But he’s brought the tricks he’s learned from dabbling in house, chillwave, pop, and funk to the table. The result is a modest record, not his best (that’s Causers of This), but with a subtle greatness and a light touch anyone familiar with Toro Y Moi is used to.

These songs aren’t very tight; they meander and sound just great in the background. But they’re hooky as hell. Even if you don’t remember the lyrics to “Buffalo” and “Empty Nesters,” the melodies stick. So do the production touches, like the gorgeous piano on “The Flight” or the seasick funk clavi that opens “Lilly.” Though there are few electronics, Bundick has a producer’s ear for effects, particularly phasing, which he may have the best ear for in all contemporary pop.

What For? is best suited for casual listening–background or otherwise–which may cause some to misinterpret it. Bundick’s approach to rock is holistic; he doesn’t focus on specific things like hooks, lyrics, or sound as much as combining them all into a package that’s immensely enjoyable to listen to. It doesn’t have the sheer beauty of Causers of This or the puckish auterishness of his next-best album Underneath the Pine. But don’t come expecting your mind blown. Come for a fun, baggage-free listening experience.

– DJ Daniel