Like it or not, Toro Y Moi has come pretty damn close to defining the chillwave movement, deny it as he may. Causers of This, Chaz Bundick's maiden album of 2010, was a lo-fi, shoegaze glance through synths and electronics, and though undoubtedly superb, there is a certain sensibility now attached; as fantastic and exploratory a record as it was, it is very much an acquired taste. Whilst the purists may disagree, it is with Underneath the Pine that Bundick has stepped out from his own shadow to deliver a genuinely brilliant sophomore effort that provides a more accessible introduction to the sound, whilst retaining the mystery and imagination that has proved so exciting over the past four years.

I promise to try to use the controversial term chillwave sparingly, but it does seem so appropriate to the sound created by Toro Y Moi; this is a summery record, founded in an increased reliance on keyboard and bass, proving to be the difference between an introverted, angular debut, and an open and organic return. Marking an increased contemplation on the role of the guitar in alternative music, this album is, in the least cliched way, groovy. The jazz-fused space-pop of 'New Beat' is juxtaposed with 'Go With You' as it gambols through funk leaving you asking; just when did Toro Y Moi get so damn sexy. The influx of bass is integral also to the apparent optimism of the record, perhaps surprisingly so considering its conception followed the funeral of a close friend in 2010. He murmurs 'I'll go with you/ wherever it ends/ I know we'll be alright', whilst the beautiful piano introduction to 'Divina' founds a verdant soundscape, fleshed out with organ and synths, as the instrumental acts as a breather from the steel guitar of 'Before I'm Done'. The record welcomes an accentuated vocal performance by Bundick, as he yearns his way through 39 minutes of one of the best albums from the year thus far.

Even from the first, agonising chords of ' Intro/ Chi Chi' there is an almost epic tone to the record; this is an important album in defining and rewriting genre, as Bundick tests his own capabilities and boundaries, with the harmony and hook to 'How I Know' indicating a journey to the centre of the pop world, questioning what defines a song. As an individual track it stands out, though each song could argue to do the same; one of the beautiful aspects to the album is that whilst together it stands up as an individual work of art, you could feasibly pick any single track and gain a perspective of the album, whilst experiencing only a brief flavour of the LP as a whole. There is a desperacy, dissembling to an uncanny isolation on 'Light Black', whilst 'Still Sound' follows as a dreamy, contemporary funk track, one of innumerable highlights to the album.

The joy of the album is in the longevity and production; with live instrumentals, as opposed to a man and his laptop, there is a depth and clarity audible here. With Underneath the Pine, Toro Y Moi represents a refusal to be held back by genre and comfortably leads the way in ignoring every tired term used to describe him. A cracking record, with the legs on it to be appreciated over and over and over.

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