IN HONOR OF MIKE PORCARO!
TOTO XIV (2015) ♪♪♪♪ ♪♪♪♪
Review by Uwe Reith
Today is a red-letter day for starved Toto fans. It’s no mystery that contractual disagreements and litigation between TOTO and Frontiers Records have led to huge duress in the producing of XIV. Thank Goodness, an announcement Toto would never record another album, didn’t come true. Since 2010 the revived band core including Steve Lukather, David Paich & Steve Porcaro has toured around the world and amongst many other reasons, to support Mike Porcaro who regrettably passed away on March 15, 2015. After Bobby Kimball’s involuntary farewell, Joseph Williams consolidated his positon as lead singer over the course of the last 5 years, which does Toto’s working atmosphere and the new record quite good. Joseph’s reinvigorated voice is THE highlight of the album. Never did he sound better. The production internally called ‚V‘ by Luke, CJ Vanston & Co. might raise expectations of a TOTO IV successor and would probably disappoint dedicated fans. ‚XIV‘ is a completely different record. There’s not much left of the Toto IV characteristics. CJ Vanston was responsible for taking the hot seat for a respectable recording and producing job in his studio. Bass guitar jobs were shared by some familiar friends of Lukather network such as Lee Sklar, Tal Wilkenfeld, Tim ‚LaFave‘ Lefebvre, Luke and original bass player David Hungate, who accompanied the band’s US tour last year to the delight of many fans and is going to be joining them for the 2015 tour. As we all know, Simon Phillips left the band in January 2014 to pursue his PROTOCOL project and tour with Hiromi. Therefore, monster drummer Keith Carlock was poached by Steely Dan and charged with the recordings at Capitol studios. His beats really swing. The most vibrant songs are uptempo tunes like ‚Running Out Of Time‘, ‚Orphan‘
and ‚my fave song ‚Holy War‘ where Joseph’s voice is literally at full steam. The complex song ‚Great Expectations‘ keeps an array of YES ~ TREVOR RABIN ~ STEVE HACKETT ~ AL DI MEOLA influences ready. Luke, Paich and Williams are sharing lead vocals on ‚Chinatown‘, a leftover and mix of ‚Georgy Porgy‘ and ‚Tale Of A Man‘ while Steve Porcaro takes over lead vocals in a beautiful pop song ‚The Little Things‘. Although Steve Porcaro and David Paich provide some interesting keyboard parts to the best, the majority of the songs are dominated by razor-sharp and precise guitar riffs. Sure enough a Steely Dan soundalike ’21st Century Blues‘ shouldn’t be missing. ‚Born Yesterday‘ meets ‚Creep Motel‘. Doobie Brother’s Michael McDonald has his cameo in ‚Fortune‘ and ‚Chinatown‘. The overall feeling includes a bunch of sophisticated rockprog/rock/jazz elements as well as simple & solid tracks resulting in 8 points out of 10.
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
Michael McDonald, Amy Keys, Mabvuto Carpenter, Jamie Savko, Amy Williams – background vocals.
Running Out Of Time, Burn, Holy War, 21st Century Blues, Orphan, Unknown Soldier (for Jeffrey), The Little Things, Chinatown, All The Tears That Shine, Fortune, Great Expectations, Bend
Rating: 8 (out of 10 ♪)
Fave songs: Running Out Of Time, Holy War, Great Expectations, Fortune, Bend