Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
The major conflict that Chaz Bundick, the pillar of the chillcore outfit Toro Y Moi, sees is that there's been a rift in his standard. There have been ripples set in the lake and in his plan, ripples that didn't used to be there, ripples that he'd like to have picked out and vanquished. The person doing the thinking and speaking on Bundick's debut full-length as Toro Y Moi, "Causers Of This," is very familiar with what the standards are, what they're supposed to be and this makes the ugly changes in them that much more distinct and problematic. We've closed in on a painful disruption, one that has flattened a young man, though his reaction to such a thing is to retreat into himself to seek out the possible reasons and find meaning in what are mostly meaningless passages or recreations of some idyllic past that has flown the coop. It's just in leaving that this other someone did all of the ransacking and damage that could have been done, just in being gone. There was no horrible act that shook the relationship loose, just that moving on. And what we find on "Causers Of This," an album that feels as much like a strange therapy on record as it does wonderfully oceanic, 1980s mixer music with a full live band on this session, is that this happening as a cold leaving, a nothing goodbye with vague reasoning is going to take some serious time to get over. The South Carolina songwriter, Bundick, is heard licking his wounds on this album, or portraying those licked wounds as if we were voyeurs tuning in live as they were still fresh and steaming. Almost every song on the record is a variation of the one before lyrically - in clever ways - trying to decipher where and when all of this started heading south, when it spiraled into a mess that couldn't be salvaged, even when it was believed that real love was there as that safety netting. It seems as if there's so much uncertainty in the one corner and so much of the opposite going on in the other corner that there's bound to be an adverse reaction. Bundick sings his version of the story in a smooth, we-can-ride-the-boogie-Michael-Jackson-way had Jacko ever delved into his "Pinkerton" record and we see that he was the one left holding the bouquet this time, left to commit the silence and coldness to memory. He sings on "Talamak," "Call you closer to my arms, you'll feel better when you're warm/You're gonna like it when you leave your house/You're gonna like it when you're in a town that you love, like one I live in/It's my body's plan/I feel another time out of my life slow down/Make another telephone call and think of you and me," and the depression is pretty thick, sure, within these words lies someone with ideals and they aren't too glossy, but just right. Elsewhere on the album, he has a job that he does just fine at. It's not what he wants, but he still tries. There's much of this defining what is the least that it's going to take to consider this life lived one that he can be proud of going on over the course of "Causers Of This," and yet no one's too unhappy. Bundick's character will get along. It will be just fine. He's okay with the job he's got (for now) and loves the town he lives in. He's just a little alone right now and that's gonna pass.
Toro Y Moi Official Site