It is this album, with the more polished production, that shows off Toro y Moi as much more than just a chillwave innovator.
There aren’t specific songs on Anything in Return that function as stand-out moments, as much as the whole album functions as one long moment that stands out for its post-modern, semi-nostalgic originality.
Bundick is envisioning a world of pop without the generic connotations of pop music, and overall, it’s a refreshing listen.
Anything in Return has more truly great music than any Toro Y Moi album, but at 52 minutes, the overall impact gets dulled.
For all of its well-intentioned flaws and near-immaculate production, this record hums with a life of its own, confident in the abilities of its creator.
The bombastic pop statements, though well handled, are just not as effortlessly great as the rest, and the endless play of boy girl lyrical scenarios does get a bit tiresome after a while.
Undoubtedly, Anything in Return shakes off easy definition, but all too often this is because it allows aimless beats to collide in a hazy pop patchwork, leaving something that runs high on atmospherics and low on actual substance.
Despite being more immediate than previous work, 'Anything In Return' maintains Chaz's longevity and craftsmanship.
It sounds promising at first, but then it slumps into a bed of mediocrity that Toro y Moi has already proved he is more than capable of avoiding.
‘Anything In Return’ is no disaster, but having released three solid yet unremarkable albums in as many years, the lack of any real progression or improvement is making the warning lights flash.
Return is neither a step up or down from 2010's wave-warping Causers of This or 2011's time-warping Underneath the Pine, yet it's not more of the same.
While Anything in Return might be the most consistent of any of his records up to this point, it lacks the punch to break through.
Try as he might to evolve, reinvent or re-contextualise, Bundick merely thrashes chillwave around within its own rigidly determined parameters.
Pop music is more than just dance beats and glammy electronics; it’s an attitude, and Bundick might just not have it.
While his third effort is certainly a technically intelligent outing, fun is not high on the priority list.