Frontiers [Released 20.03.15]
Toto are back for their first new studio album since 2006′s ‘Falling In Between’. Since then the band have undergone a few changes with Joseph Williams back in the band since 2010 (he sang on their mid/late 80′s classics ‘Fahrenheit’ and ‘The Seventh One’) and original bassist David Hungate back in the fold.
They join the ever present Steve Lukather, along with David Paich and Steve Porcaro. They even have a new drummer with Keith Carlock (Steely Dan) who joined the band last year after Simon Phillips spent over twenty years with the band.
Those inlay sleeve anoraks like me will also spot a few familiar names in the backing musicians include percussionist Lenny Castro, Lee Sklar (who has been a member of the touring band) and Michael McDonald lends a hand on backing vocals.
The music is classic Toto, obviously recalling the two albums Joseph Williams appeared on with opener ‘Running Out Of Time’ a catchy AOR tune the band do so well. ’21st Century Blues’ has a chilled groove, Williams vocals take centre stage backed by sax/horns and some stylish guitar solos from Steve Lukather.
‘Chinatown’ is an older song given a spruce up and shows the band’s jazzier leanings with neat keys/guitar interplay. ‘Orphan’ was chosen as a lead off song and rightly so as it is made for radio. A sparse piano/vocal leads into a big guitar riff and we are off on another Toto AOR adventure! The guitar outro is pretty damn fine too.
The band never shy from tackling contentious subjects like on ‘Unknown Soldier (for Jeffrey)’, recalls ‘Home Of The Brave’ off ‘The Seventh One’ in its epic feel and vocal arrangements. ‘Great Expectations’ starts off slowly before throwing everything in musically and then some. Toto do epic songs so well and the listener never loses interest as they keep melody at the heart of everything they do. Joseph Williams really belts it out on this one and I’m really digging those piano parts, plus each of the band’s vocalists gets a chance to sing solo.
The musicianship of this band really sets them apart from their peers and although most of the critics never liked the band, us the fans love them and that’s what counts. For me I’d rank this album in my all time Toto top five albums, yes it is that good and each play reveals a couple more musical nuances.
Hopefully the band will do at least one more album, however if they do bow out here then they have ended on a musical high. If you like Toto and good quality music just buy this album! *****
Review by Jason Ritchie
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BRIAN ROBERTSON – Diamonds And Dirt (2011)
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