April 25, 2023

Toro y Moi: MAHAL

Toro y Moi: MAHAL

Alright, after much deliberating, my mind's made up. Underneath The Pine is my favorite Toro y Moi joint, not MAHAL. Sure, getting into him right at the start of this album cycle made it more special, it's closer sonically to the Mattson 2 one, and... No, I like Underneath The Pine better. Stop. The reason I'm writing about MAHAL here's because the album turns one year old this week! That's wild.

Compared to his previous efforts, MAHAL falls towards the rock end of Chaz Bear's sound continuum, but things aren't played as straight as they are on What For?. If that album's sound is maybe more consistent, for better or worse, MAHAL really experiments, which doesn't always come with the commitment to fleshing things out.

"Mississippi," a minute and a half plus Jeepneynoise, blooms within its interlude-y scope (and resembles Soul Trash's opening track, which I'll talk about soon). I don't think it needed to be longer, but could it have been? "Postman" calls back to Outer Peace's sometimes uninspired nonchalance (see:"I don't / Give a / F**k"), and it does feel a little demo-y. Bouncing but flat, with an awkward bridge, that bassline feels like the main idea on display. Then take "The Loop": one of my favorites, with a verse dropping off abruptly at "Damn!", followed by wandering bass fill.

Mr. Bear said somewhere he writes his lyrics last, and I gotta say theycanfeel like afterthoughts. However! I think that's part of the vision. Toro y Moi always brings the vibes, and the breezy quality of what he's saying (or not saying) serves a unified vision of chillness. It could be cool to hear something dense in the future, but for now I think Chaz has crafted some damn good car music, which is something I swear he said he was going for with the new album. Somewhere. I can't find it. Source: trust.

Buy or Listen.