What is maddeningly difficult about music, and the nature of trying to describe it, is the needlessly excessive genrifications - the scenes with which artists are immediately and unknowingly associated with.
“Chillwave” is one such “genre” that has sprouted quite a musical genus in recent times. Artists such as Neon Indian, Memory Tapes, Syntaks and Washed Out all give a nostalgic nod to eighties and nineties shoegaze bands such as Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine and for their efforts get lumped with hipster name tags. (“hey, dude do you like chillwave?” “err, no captain ‘n’ I hate your mum too” conversations seem to play out like that in my head)
Toro Y Mois' (real name Chazwick Bundick) first record ‘Causers Of This’ displayed Bundick’s talents as a musical landscape artist, and as a proponent of brilliantly crafted lo-fi hazy pop. ‘Underneath The Pine’, on first listen, stays in keeping with the “dream pop” label, but then the more I listen to it the more mature it sounds, the more it escapes the genre, becoming an unfathomably great pop record, or what a pop record should be.
Intro Chi Chi opens like something off ‘Moon Safari’ and suggests an ambient record, thick with texture and sun-touched vocals. From then on it is quite simply blissful. New Beat is energetic, soulful and funky as hell, the moods to which define this record for the most part. At twenty three Bundwick seems already to be quite the artist. Taking influences from a wide range of areas; disco, funk, soul, dance, ambient/shoegaze, and trip hop he moulds a sound that can drift into the epic but equally get down to the funk and soul of it.
‘Underneath The Pine’ will establish him no doubt. Vocals have a slight Bradford Cox feel, his movements and melodies drawing him into worlds not a million miles from Deerhunter’s ‘Weird Era Continued’ as on Before I’m Done, but have more in common with Cox’s side project Atlas Sound. Pop magic that is both organic and sponged with masses of colour. How I Know is an example of Bundick’s ability to write perfect pop songs, reminiscent of early Shins. Bumping basslines and teetering psychedelics play out through Light Black before the impossibly infectious Still Sound tells me this won’t be off my stereo for the foreseeable future, the vocal harmonies oozing a dancefloor vibe. Don’t you just love it when a record like that comes your way. Sure to be one of the albums of the year already.
Underneath The Pine