For our money, Toro Y Moi’s real talent has always been his ability to produce subtle grooves that wind their way through your head and down to your hips. He’s always sounded his best when he lets go of his more balladeering tendencies and embraces a lighter, funkier tone. So it follows with Chaz Bear’s fifth studio album, Boo Boo.
Cuts like Inside My Head and album opener Mirage have you throwing shapes in the kitchen like no one else, all slapping bass and fierce claps. But then there are the inevitable slow jams, like Don’t Try or You and I. They aren’t bad, with their heavenly 80s synths and endless reverb, and they are typically well-constructed and dripping with his hipster aesthetic. But coming off the back of lead single and album standout, Girl Like You, the soft dreamy atmospheres lack any real punch or depth beyond their vibe.
This is of course very much Bear’s wheelhouse. He’s a master of creating the type of soundscapes that evoke California sunsets and driving down endless, summer country roads. It’s mood music, and he really is quite exceptional at it.
Boo Boo is a perfect album to throw on for setting that sort of ambience, and for that we can’t fault him. A consistent sound throughout a project is admirable, and by that measure the album is a great success. But there are few moments that feel particularly surprising or affecting. It all feels very much a safe next step in the musical development of the Toro Y Moi project. The tracks all bleed together into a single warm hue, as comforting but ultimately undistinctive, as the album’s unfortunately poignant artwork. Still, all said, you better believe Girl Like You is in heavy rotation for the rest of the summer.