In the summer of 2010, as the genre known as "chillwave" was starting to make a splash, singer-songwriter Chazwick Bundick rode that wave to popularity under the name Toro y Moi with his first album, Causers of This. Barely a year later, Bundick has released his sophomore effort, Underneath the Pine, a laid-back and casual listen that's sure to hook any fan of electronic music who hasn't yet caught the chillwave.
The intro gets the album off to a thick and heavy start. Following track "New Beat" is immediately infectious with its '70s-tinged pop synth and smooth beat. Keyboards make up the backbone to this track and much of the rest of the record.
Bundick toes the line to acoustic with "Before I'm Done," a slower tune that feels swimmy with its steady, rolling guitar riff and darker electronic background. Most of the album is lighter than "Before I'm Done," but even so, Bundick manages to steer clear of being depressing.
It's on "Good Hold" that listeners — especially those with a good pair of headphones — get a real treat. It's hard to tell exactly what's going on, but it feels like sound is pushed through the right year, around the back of your head, and out through the other ear. While those moments are probably the most striking on the album, Underneath the Pine is definitely an album for a good stereo system. It has lots of little subtleties that can easily be missed.
If the label "chillwave" has conjured up images of pretentious music snobs making up genres willy-nilly for you, don't let it be a deterrent to checking out Underneath the Pine. If you're looking for approachable electronic music good for both relaxing and dancing, Toro y Moi will certainly be up your alley.
Toro Y Moi will play Local 506 in Chapel Hill on April 15 with Adventure and Braids. Underneath the Pine is out now via Carpark Records.