Toro Y Moi - "All Alone" (mp3)
When I double-clicked the first track of Toro Y Moi’s new EP Freaking Out, the song didn’t start. No music came from my speakers. Instead, a fork of blue lightening shot down from the ceiling, engulfing me in blinding light. When the smoke cleared, I was on a superbike, speeding down a vast, deserted road as the morning sun rose in front of me. The more I explored my surroundings, the more I realised I must have travelled through time as well as space - this was Miami thirty years ago. I grinned, put on the pair of aviators that materialised in my pocket, and accelerated into the red dawn.
This is what "All Alone" feels like: it’s the opening credits of an 80’s action film. In a good way. It’s refreshingly more dramatic than Chazwick Bundick’s previous work. Superficially, there are similarities: the sound is full, the layers are plenty, and the instruments are bombastic and tongue-in-cheek. But unlike many of his earlier songs, more attention seems to have been put into primarily making these ones accessible; "All Alone" is a very well-crafted pop song with a big beat and catchy melody. From here, Bundick effortlessly slides into an uncannily accurate Prince impression for title track "Freaking Out". It’s a neck-jerkingly funky, dance groove, and the two tracks work perfectly together. So far, so great.
Feeling the inescapable draw of some distant, muffled music, I parked outside the club it was emanating from, and entered its large, steel door. Inside, I was surprised to find the club empty apart from three figures apparently engaged in some kind of dance-off underneath a gigantic disco ball. I moved closer to find Jamiroquai furiously moon-walking in front of the Justice duo. Somehow, these musicians must have been transported here with me. The music playing was Toro Y Moi’s excellent "Sweet" – track three of Freaking Out. I poured myself a drink from behind the deserted bar and went to join in the competition.
Ultimately, Bundick doesn’t quite manage to hold the EP together, and some focus is lost towards its end. Closers "Saturday Love" and "I Can Get Love" fail to live up to the promise of the first three tracks, too faithfully repeating the soft, chilled-out formula established with previous record Underneath The Pine. However, this formula is a proven winner, so the criticism is a small one.
With every record he makes, Bundick seems surer of himself. Each of his previous albums is accomplished in its own way, but Freaking Out is yet another step forward in his relentless artistic progression. Bundick has combined the electronica of Causers Of This with the organic, laid-back grooves of Underneath The Pine, creating a stronger, more coherent record that offers irritatingly enduring melodies. The scope and skill of Toro Y Moi grow with each record. If this pattern holds, eventual world-domination is inevitable.