name Toto comes to many peoples lips when asked them to list their top ten
American AOR artists of all time. With hits like ‘Hold The Line’,
‘Africa’ and ‘Rosanna’ under their belts, it would be all too easy to say
that’s what the band are all about, but with this new release Toto are a
horse of a different colour.
‘Falling In Between’ is
somewhat of a tongue in cheek title to the album, as the band themselves
have always been associated with the more gentle AOR soundings. However,
the band are much more than this and with this new release they show just
how all-embracing the band can really be.
The album opener ‘Falling In
Between’ which is also the title track, is truly a different animal
compared to the previous Toto tracks that I’ve heard through the bands
illustrious 30 year career. It is so full of passion and depth that it
makes you sit up and take notice from the off. The heavier sound is
almost progressive in its undertones, but the keyboards definitely have
that trademark Toto sound. The album twists and turns from one track to
the next, with each one leaving the last in its wake.
Fans of the band with
instantly recognize the vocals of Bobby Kimball, who is welcomed back into
the fold and makes his presence felt on the first two tracks on the
album. But the album is full of surprises, as the list of guest musicians
and past members reads like a who’s who of musical greats. All of which
just goes to show the respect that the band have gained over the years.
The album has many highlights,
one of them being the engaging ‘Bottom Of Your Soul’, which sees Steve
Lukather dueting with former vocalist Joseph Williams, and is also the
first single to be taken off the album. I couldn’t think of a finer track
to showcase a superb album than this.
Fans of the band will find
that the Toto moniker hasn’t completely been thrown aside. The magic is
still there with the likes of ‘Dying on My Feet’ and ‘Simple Life’, both
of which still having that legendary Toto feel, that sold millions of
records in the eighties and swept the Grammies back in 1982.
‘King Of The World’ is
another wonderful track that once again Bobby Kimball takes over vocal
duties. Together with the haunting guitars of Steve Lukather, they bring
this eighties sounding track bang up to date.
‘Hooked’ is the second of a
trio of tracks that keep that typical Toto sound alive, while bringing
that very same sound kicking and screaming into the present day. With the
guitars of Lukather once again taking point duty, if you listen closely
you can even hear the flute maestro himself, one Ian Anderson, lending his
haunting musical style to the track.
The third track in this group
is ‘Simple Life’ which is a short semi acoustic ballad that fits in well
with the vocal talents of Steve Lukather.
The pace picks up from here
on in, firstly with ‘Taint Your World’ a truly foot tapping boogie fest
that is total switch from the previous three tracks, and shows how the
band aren’t afraid to change the tempo and mix things around. All of
which makes for an interesting album. Rather than staying safe with the
power ballad and sickly love songs, the band aren’t afraid to throw
caution to the wind on this album.
To cement this fact the next
track ‘Let It Go’ is almost a jazz funk track with keyboard player Greg
Phillinganes taking over the vocals for the first time on the album.
The title to the next track
gives away the type of song this is. ‘Spiritual Man’ has the makings of a
gospel music hit with its backing choir and its down town saxophone. This
track just has to be heard to be believed. It just makes you want to
shout Hallelujah at the end of it.
The final track ‘No End In
Sight’ has all the hallmarks of a Toto classic. It slowly builds from
humble beginnings to a fully-fledged rock classic, with haunting guitars,
not too distant keyboards, and a backbeat to die for.
The only fault I can find
with this album is that it has been such a long time coming. As the name
Toto comes from the Latin meaning ‘everyone’, then I think that everyone
should go out and buy this very special album.