Chaz Bear (fka Chaz Bundick) under the stage name Toro Y Moi, continues to endure the short-lived success of the chillwave phenomenon of the early 2010s with his latest album “Boo Boo,” an icy soundprism glaciating listeners with psychedelic dance numbers and shimmering walls of synthesized delight.
With previous attempts at simplified psychedelic indie rock and blatant, lo-fi funktronica behind, “Boo Boo” quells Chaz’s ambitious endeavors and offers up a cohesive, retrospective comeback project showcasing the artist’s technical skills and fine form. “Boo Boo” signals a wondrous improvement over his previous work in every technical way, as he exposes himself lyrically while layering sweet, synthetic elegance upon danceable bedroom pop — a feat that makes you gawk at Toro Y Moi’s production chops and songwriting craftsmanship.
As “Boo Boo” strolls along with a languid swirl, Chaz perfectly marries two distinct eras of Toro y Moi: the brisk bedroom pop of “My Touch” in 2009 and the slick, funk-induced experimentalism of “Anything in Return” in 2013. Chaz embellishes a sound that redefines his consistency as a preeminent chillwave artist, even though his latest is nothing incredibly groundbreaking or a call to arms for a chillwave revival — it is instead, a smooth, bare bones, glo-fi valium from the genre’s very best.
With the sizzling, summer heat seizing another day, Toro Y Moi’s fifth full-length “Boo Boo” equips frigid escapism with confounding tranquility, as synth-bass tones and crystalline chords of the ‘80s captures Toro y Moi’s latest as a slow and dreamy make-out soundtrack while orchestrating R&B melodies into a cough syrup-daze. As Chaz’s woozy wizardry casts an overwhelming sonicwall with the initial track “Mirage,” he gradually diffuses lush, inviting, elements into smooth and effervescent arrangements exemplified by tracks “Don’t Try,” “Embarcadero,” “You and I” and “Labyrinth.”
As Chaz strings together delectable, wintry soundscapes to add to your summertime playlist que, he remains distant — leaving his listeners in the dark with romantic, doom and gloom lyrics. He continues to dwell inside post-breakup subtext whilst contemplating the sudden realities of being successful. It is not coldness that prevails here, rather the urge to break down his psyche for the listener. With chillwave, everything is in the name, but at the center of this 12-track iceberg lies a crackling fire of introspection and an urge to dance.
In the past, Toro Y Moi contributed towards a pop sound without many complexities or variation, one that appropriated everything that seemed interesting and without much distinction; yet Chaz Bear manages to take shape in a way unexpected, breathing fresh air into a musical world so unwilling to change. With previous attempts at psychedelia, soul-funk and the realm of ethereal dream weaving, Toro Y Moi finds a harmonious compromise between his past work and a contemporary vision for what is ahead — a small miracle for pop music in 2017.