Toro y Moi’s latest EP, Sandhills, sees the now thirty-something artist taking a detour homeward. Embracing his South Carolina roots, Chaz Bear takes the role of tour guide delivering a personal and evocative set of songs that showcase his graceful ability to cross genres whilst retaining his essence.
The first song, “Back Then”, opens doors to a feeling that is as universal as it is poignant. “My old highway exit looks so much different but the water tower still looks the same”, Bear laments as the album’s americana and folk-rock sounds begin to make themselves felt. The infusion of warm guitars, reverb-drenched lap steel, rustic percussion lends a new dimension to Toro Y Moi’s already diverse sonic palate.
The first two songs, though perfectly good, seem to preface the eponymous single, “Sandhills,” which is so drenched in nostalgia and a yearning for the past that it’s hard to believe Mark Kozelek didn’t write it, “white hot sand in my socks again fire ants aimlessly biting in”. The chorus, layered with wistful harmonies, becomes an anthem of change and self-discovery in the face of years gone by.
The EP’s production strikes a perfect balance between an organic, vintage vibe and modern clarity, ensuring that every sonic detail is finely tuned. With a runtime of fifteen minutes, there’s not much to lose here. Fans of Beck, Meat Puppets, Red House Painters, sun kil moon, will find a whole lot to love here, and old fans of Toro Y Moi should gladly take this new ride with him.