TORO Y MOI
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Using a variety of ‘80s sounds to fuel the future
Toro Y Moi, also known as Chaz Bundick, says that the success of his previous albums, especially 2015’s indie-rock “What For?,” gave him an identity crisis.
To sort out his future, he turned to the past, including ’80s R&B producer Kashif and ’80s ambient artist Gigi Masin, as well as current stars Frank Ocean and Travis Scott. The result is “Boo Boo” (Carpark), which sounds futuristic, despite its retro influences, because no one thought of this particular combination before. The first single, “You and I,” has the kind of synth riffs Kashif used in Whitney Houston’s “You Give Good Love,” as Bundick sings about a relationship that is slipping away.
“No Show” uses those same sounds as a base for Travis Scott-styled rhymes on the verses, before it gives way to a broad pop chorus, while “Mona Lisa” is shimmering dance pop from start to finish. “Embarcadero” sounds like it could turn into Phil Collins’ “One More Night” at any moment. And it’s that tension that makes “Boo Boo” work so well — like walking down a familiar street that leads to somewhere undiscovered.