Finding joy in adversity
Phoebe Scott
11:00 28th April 2022

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With over 12 years of expertise under his belt, the multi-instrumentalist Chaz Bear has become a master of his craft. Now releasing his seventh studio album under his alias Toro Y Moi, MAHAL is no exception.

The album kicks things off with the sound of an engine revving up, which we can only assume to be the Filipino Jeepney featured on the album artwork. It blends and evolves into an immense psych-rock'n'roll instrumental ‘The Medium’, which could more aptly named 'The Large'. 

It's followed by ‘Goes By So Fast’, a soft lilting jazz track showcasing Moi’s saxophone and flute skills while perfectly encapsulating how genre-spanning MAHAL truly is—and all this in its first two tracks. 

At the end of the second track, we first hear the recurring radio static theme that is used throughout the album. Moi switches us between the stations of each song, tuning us in to every new sound exploration as we follow him on a road trip through his recent life.

We lean into ‘Magazine’, a reflection on modern life and the relationship we have with media in a changing digital world, accompanied by a subtle mellow vocal from Salami Rose Joe Louis, one of the only features on the album.  

Swiftly into ‘Postman’, the first single we were introduced to back in January. A playful tune with the funkiest of basslines, it inspires flashbacks to 2020 when waiting by the front door for any post other than bills would be a real treat. We gently lean into ‘The Loop’, then switch radio stations into ‘Last Year’, which sees Toro Y Moi blending his Filipino and American heritage roots, exploring indigenous textures over jazz. The track ends with beeping and whirring until we begin slowing down for ‘Mississippi’, where Toro describes feeling most at home. 

As we’re transported through the rest of the album, we’re driven through chill-wave heatwaves in ‘Foreplay’, ‘Way Too Hot’, and the previous single ‘Déjà Vu’, plus sunshine anthem ‘Millennium’ featuring The Mattson 2.

As the album progresses, the tracks seem to blend together and become slightly less distinguishable from one another, but all of it is enjoyable nonetheless—and everything ends on a positive, reflective note with ‘Days In Love’.

MAHAL is a journey that encompasses Toro Y Moi’s bright and shimmering style that we all know best. It’s an album about finding a sense of joy in the face of adversity, whether that be the whole world coming to a standstill or simply learning how to love yourself. 

MAHAL arrives 29 April via Dead Oceans.

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

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Photo: Press