24-year-old Chazwick Bundick wasn’t blessed with a marquee-ready name, so he chose to perform under the stage name Toro y Moi. Not even two years removed from graduating from the University of South Carolina — Bundick, Gamecocks, coincidence? — he’s about to release his second Toro y Moi album, Underneath The Pine.
Lumped in with chillwave, Bundick is a friend and contemporary of one of the movement’s founding fathers, Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out. However, Toro y Moi’s take on fuzzy synth nostalgia is considerably more upbeat.
Take “Still Sound”, which owes a debt to 70’s funk as much as 80’s synthpop:
On a song like “How I Know”, you can even detect harmonies and throwback rhythms that echo the psychedelic folk of Ariel Pink:
On “Go With You”, Bundick chills out the tempo and turns up the reverb:
Occasionally, it does get to be a little much. The cheeky keyboard lead in “New Beat” pushes an otherwise fine track completely over the top:
Taken as a whole, Underneath The Pine is an appealing diversion. It’s the kind of sugary pop you can enjoy out in the open, instead of shamefully behind closed doors.