It has been nine long years since 2006’s impressive ‘Falling In Between’ and this latest Toto release ‘XIV’, during that time Toto split up and then reformed. This version of Toto has original members Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and also sees the return of the original bass player David Hungate. Joseph Williams, who last sang on “The Seventh One” and “Fahrenheit” also returns, however drummer Simon Phillips has now left and has been replaced by Keith Carlock.
As with any Toto album, you get a mixture of styles, from pop, rock, soul, funk, progressive rock, hard rock, R&B and even jazz, and this is what makes Toto such a unique band to listen to.
After the first listen, You get the impression Lukather is the main driving force behind “XIV” as it is more of a guitar based album than previous Toto ones, his playing is a lot sharper, more inventive and clearly taking time out to release his solo album “Transition” seems to have worked wonders.
“Running Out Of Time” is a real strong opening melodic rock track, with Lukather’s guitar playing strong in the mix.
‘Burn’ is a ballad with glorious keyboard sections and strong melodies, while “Holy War” heads back into Melodic hard rock territory with a driving drum rhythm from Keith Carlock.
“21st Century Blues” again has Steve’s guitar as the main focal point, but is closely matched by some seriously cool sax playing from Tom Scott.
‘Orphan’ begins as a touching ballad, before becoming more heartfelt with a hard edge verse, before dropping into a sing a long chorus.
‘Unknown Soldier’ has an epic feel to the track, with more than a hint of prog running through it, this is what Toto do best, layered textures with the blending of different musical styles to create a unique sound.
“Little Things “is a delicate vocal ballad that could have very easily been on Fahrenheit or The Seventh One albums. More pop than rock.
‘Chinatown’ is a peach of a track, pulling in influences from jazz and blues, very reminiscent of ‘Toto IV’ era
‘All The Tears That Shine’ as you may have guessed from the title is a delightful ballad, with a deeply passionate vocal performance from Joseph Williams.
‘Fortune’ is a chopped guitar riff based rocker with a massive chorus, before Steve’s takes over with a blues based solo
The band are not afraid to take their chances and stretch their song writing abilities, and this can be heard to great effect on ‘Great Expectations’ which at almost seven minutes long has enough intricate guitar work, symphonic, progressive instrumental passages to keep even Genesis fans happy.
Toto return with one of their best albums yet.
Joseph Williams – lead vocals
Steve Lukather – guitars, bass, vocals
David Paich – keyboards, vocals
Steve Porcaro – keyboards, vocals
David Hungate – bass
Keith Carlock – drums
Lenny Castro – percussion
Tom Scott – saxes and horn arrangements
Lee Sklar, Tal Wilkenfeld, Tim Lefebvre – bass
Martin Tillman – cello
CJ Vanston – additional synths
Toto XIV will be released in the UK on 23rd March 2014 via Frontiers records, and the band will be on tour from May onwards.