Toro y Moi is back with an EP just seven short months since his latest full length Underneath the Pine was released. This five song record shows Chaz Bundick (the man behind the Toro y Moi moniker) shedding the chillwave label that’s been put upon him (a label he feels is just the result of coincidence more than anything else) for something much dancier. Freaking Out is certainly not as hook-y as Underneath the Pine, but don’t fret—these five songs are as catchy as anything on his LP.
The record matches a jittery atmosphere with fantastic grooves throughout, and the opener “All Alone” sets the tone of rest of the record extremely well. Though it opens with some familiar chillwave-y synths, we quickly realize that this is not quite like anything we’ve hear from Toro y Moi before. Throughout the jittery atmosphere set by his masterful drums, he weaves in spaced out vocals and synths to add to the flow of the song. As the track progresses we are able to get a sense for just how well this guy can build a groove. Individually, no single instrument track seems to be carrying the song but the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts and when put together the song just begs you to dance along.
The title track “Freaking Out” is probably the weakest on the EP, but only by a slim margin and a record of five excellent songs that’s not a problem at all. The third track “Sweet” has smacks of French House that fans of Daft Punk or Justice might pick up on (especially in some of the bass tones). That being said, you certainly wouldn’t confuse this for either of them as this song retains the jitters and feel set by the first two tracks. The vocals bring very little in the way of lyrics to “Sweet” but they are absolutely essential in setting its tone. Throughout the track vocal chords bend in and out giving it a slightly hazy feel.
The fourth song “Saturday Love” is actually a cover of a 1985 R&B hit that fits perfectly into the style Toro y Moi is cultivating on this release. The closing track “I Can Get Love” is by far the longest track on the EP at 5:38 and is the second longest track in Toro y Moi’s catalog (second only to Underneath the Pine closer “Elise”). The duration gives him some room to really develop the beat and to let it ebb and flow. This comes close to being too long, but the beat carries the song quite well and by the time the record fades out you’re left both satisfied and curious as to what Toro y Moi will give us next.
Toro y Moi is going to be at Canopy Club on Thursday (9/22) for this year’s Pygmalion Music Festival. He’ll definitely be playing tracks off this Freaking Out and Underneath the Pine so I strongly recommend getting yourself there for what’s bound to be a huge dance party.
WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-G-½
Key Tracks: “All Alone” and “Sweet”.
Recommended if you like: Washed Out, Neon Indian, and Twin Shadow.
W = Poor
W-P = Fair
W-P-G = Great
W-P-G-U = An instant classic!