Album: Outer Peace
Artist: Toro y Moi
Label: Carpark Records
Non-Airable Tracks: NONE
Imagine walking into a Forever 21. Imagine walking through the different floors, up and down the escalators, in and out of elevators, and then ending up in a Top Shop. You scan the clothes racks quickly because the pace of the music reminds you that you can’t afford anything, or worse, everything is covered in pink and green sequins. This type of experience is what you’ll receive listning to Toro y Moi’s newest album, Outer Peace.
A short little burst of 10 songs coming in at a total of 30 minutes, Outer Peace feels like the Toro y Moi we all once knew and loved was strapped to a white marble rocket and shot into outer space with a synthesizer. Although there are a couple of bops and gems on the album, most of the album feels just a tad contrived, as if Chaz got a little too Teenage-Engineering-OP-1-happy.
When “Freelance” was released as a single last year, I was looking forward to what was coming. It is a quirky, boppy, burpy electronic funk piece with some pretty cheeky lyrics: “Cazadero got me wearing all camo / Decked in Patagonia head to toe / Down for whatever, I think I let go / No more shoes and socks, I only rock sandals.” After the line “Level up, you’ve got to make a bonus,” I really did get video game vibes from the song. I embraced it though. The song eerily resembles one of the preceding songs on the album, “Ordinary Pleasure.” The sound of both songs are enjoyable the first two times or so, but they aren’t something I want to play on repeat, per se. When I played “Freelance” for one of my best friends, he quipped that Chaz’s songs sounds like “if The Weeknd had a good attitude.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
“Monte Carlo” sounds like a true Toro y Moi song, but I thought the lyrics fell flat and I didn’t particularly enjoy the work done on Chaz’s (or Wet’s) vocals. The song I enjoy most is “New House,” because it carried some meaning to it. The beginning actually sounded like the start of a James Blake song (with the strange repetitive piano cadence), and the layered drums added another cool dimension. I also liked the lyrics, which reminded me of a poem: “Right when I touchdown, got anxiety / Follow signs out of the terminal (Now) / JFK is a different animal now / Damn, baggage claim’s like a war zone (Now) / Glad I packed light clothes, I’m on my own.” The chorus depicted the longing for consumption, in particular expensive, materialistic buys: “I want a brand new house / Something I cannot buy, something I can’t afford.” The whole song really evoked the rat race to “success” that exists today amongst young people, nestled on top of the constant phone-blasts and crowded airports.
Although the album is a bit repetitive in terms of sound, it is still a neatly produced experiment with some notable features: ABRA, Wet, and Instupdendo. If you want to feel like you went to space, visited a Forever 21 completely made of water-beds, and experienced a Chaz dressed up in a silver space suit, I think you should listen to Outer Peace.
Sounds Like: Homeshake, Com Truise, Pond
5. New House
Reviewer’s Name: Arielle Devorah
Date of Review: 2 February 2019