Despite the deception that the name brings, Toro Y Moi is actually just one person: Chazwick Bundick. Last year, he gained attention through his first release Causers of This. Only a year later, Toro Y Moi is back with a whole new set of songs, which is fairly ambitious, even if the band is only really made up of one person. Ambitious or not, Bundick has made a fairly decent sophomore effort with Underneath the Pine.
Starting with “Intro/ Chi Chi,” Bundick looks to slowly ease you into his style, submersing the listener slowly into his groovy and chill world of sound. He is careful not to throw too much at you, but allows the two minute and twenty five seconds of quite bass and head nod- inducing slow beats. Almost hypnotizing, the first track lulls you into a state of calm, Zen feelings, if only so he can pull you out on the next song. When the last noises of the intro fade out, the positively 70’s disco sounds of “New Beat” kick in. Suddenly, you’re lost in the synthesizer and muted vocals of Bundick, whirling wherever the groovy sounds take you. By the end of the second song, Toro Y Moi has full control, and it is only a matter of what experimental beats he will daunt with next.
On shorter songs such as “Divina,” and “Good Hold,” this band keeps it eloquent. “Divina” is purely instrumental and “Good Hold” relies on a messy piano line that would feel otherwise too chaotic if prolonged for any more than it is. Despite the shortness of these two tracks, both of them are still chalked full of the entrancing qualities of this sound. Contrarily, on the longer side of songs you have surface goodies like “How I Know,” which just feels like summer all wrapped up into a ball. When you press play on this song, it feels like the annual first jump off the diving board and into the cool water that relieves the sweat from your brow. Deeper cuts like “Light Black” are also present: the beat may not be as bumping, but as the gritty sound creeps its way under your skin it makes for a echo-y few minutes of soothing noise.
It’s the variety of songs on Underneath the Pine that makes it so interesting and enjoyable. While it doesn’t feel like Bundick is trying to permeate your subconscious, he does just so with his coy disco/pop/alternative smooth rock sound. Cool trance beats mix with lukewarm vocals to make it feel like spring in the midst of winter, much like February in Austin.