Album: Outer Peace
Artist: Toro y Moi
Label: Carpark Records
Non-Airable Tracks: 3, 5
This album is, unfortunately, boring. So boring, in fact, that I struggle to come up with anything meaningful to say about it. Chaz Bear’s stint as Toro y Moi has been crammed full of derivative and samey sounding productions that all invoke the feeling of listening to Animal Collective and Ariel Pink for hours while watching one of the Windows XP screensavers play out, occasionally opting to scroll through Instagram in the hashtag “#beachmemories”. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy Chillwave now and again. I’ll always get behind Ariel Pink and Panda Bear, and there’s even a few early Neon Indian singles that I’ll get down with. However, Toro y Moi’s music has never sat well with me besides the brilliant 2011 single “New Beat”. This album isn’t much different.
The biggest problem with Outer Peace is Bear’s lack of willingness to attempt any meaningful experimentation. Half of the tracks on this album exist in this weird state of pseudo-ambient, too boring to be considered the normal style of funk driven house that is Toro y Moi’s standard style, yet too short and scared to attempt an experimental sound. The only highlights I can see are opener “Fading” whose vocal samples and rapid beat are engaging to listen to and “Ordinary Pleasure” whose chorus is the highlight of this album.
I don’t know if the problem in this album is the fault of Bear’s creative spirit or if it’s just that he pumps out one of these each year. They’re just uninspired. But this is listenable if you’re looking for background music while you’re reading Ready Player One or whatever tired nostalgia driven product meant to remind 80s-babies of what it felt like to be alive and young and have hopes for the future.
Sounds Like: Washed Out, Neon Indian
Reviewer’s Name: Bennett Tolar
Date of Review: 1/29/19