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I remember this post of David Paich on his Facebook page "What am I goingto do today ? What about writing new songs for the next Toto album?" At this point, no doubt about it, we might say that new record was launched and usually when the maestro speaks, it's not for nuts .... and indeed you're going to have the blast of your life.

Nine years after their latest album Falling in Between, the band comes back with a brand new opus,TOTO XIV, that prefigures a return to the roots. With TOTO, we were never got used to a specific music style and the band’s compositions remain very eclectic. Once again, you can say it. Recorded within ten months at Capitol Records, this album is both colorful and nostalgic, the songs are powerful and the lyrics are more committed than usually.

Thus, the band brought up several topics such as greed, power, religions, war by always delivering a message of hope. TOTO XIV is really well built both in its creation and production.

As there was no more bass player, Luke, Leland Sklar, Tal Wilkenfeld, Tim LeFevbre and David Hungate played on this record as a tribute to Michaël Porcaro. While Keith Carlock kicks ass on drums, longtime friend Lenny Castro is on percussion along with some special guests like: Michael McDonald, Amy Keys, Mabvuto Carpenter, Jamie Savko, Amy Williams, Tom Scott, Martin Tillman and CJ Vanston on production, the one who worked on Luke’s last albums and on Kingdom of Desire as well. He has been the strong link on this album by focusing the cats on what’s important and guiding them towards perfection.

Goodbye Bobby with the powerful come back of Joseph Williams, frontsinger on Fahrenheit  and  The Seventh One. His voice is still at his best and I may say that it’s even more powerful.

Steve Porcaro also comes back in the line-up and that is the guarantee to have back THE sound that makes the band so famous. David Paich is here, too and definitely, songwriter of several tracks, the piano of Paich sounds like in the old days.

Steve Lukather’s touch on  TOTO XIV  is still surprising because, apart from the astonishing solos and riff,he got involved as never before in this album, as far as playing bass on a few songs, which is not a surprise since he already did it on Michael Jackson ‘s Beat it.

He is also the one who starts playing on the first track Running Out of Time with a "Lukatherian" intro, in a prog rock way. Steve Porcaro’s back and you can really feel it. Steve’s touch is like holy water for the band. Joe is at his best and the guitars’rythm of the 90’s are back,too. Discovery of Keith, the guy kicks ass, deep groove and beat, it augurs well.

Burn  has quickly become one of my favourites, the energy that comes from this track is amazing. First, Paich’s play captivates me, then Porcaro’s synth waves overwhelm my mind, Joe’s voice makes me shiver, with on the top of it, the subtle guitar notes in the background. I close my eyes and gaze till Keith’s hits on the drums wake me up. I’m thrown by these deep background vocals, never felt before, in the two first tracks.

Let’s talk about the third track Holy War, which is more pop. It grooves, it’s fresh, very catchy, Joe’s and Steve’s voices sound teenagers’ones. The song was co-written with CJ Vanston as well as 21st Century Blues along with Luke. It was inspired by Luke’s latest solo albums, with a bluesy intro in a Steely Dan-like chorus.

 

 

 

Orphan, is the first single of the record to be released with a video clip, by Heather Porcaro, Steve Porcaro’s daughter. As a promotional title, it has a swinging beat. On the drums, Keith is at his best. And a special quote to the bass player … huge sound.

And what about the ballad, nobody cares!!!???!!!  Here comes Unknown Soldier, like a cannon-shot, with a Led Zeppelin-like sound. The song is dedicated to Jeff Porcaro. Luke’s voice is full of strong emotion, it blows you away, and for the rest … "No comment "...This song will be like Better World, a masterpiece.

Seventh title of the album,  The Little Things is an absolute wonder, sang by Steve Porcaro. When I first listened to it, I told myself ″ Hey, by any chance, did you work with Michael Jackson?. This track could have been written for MJ, and like Takin it back  or  It's a feeling, the rough voice of Steve Porcaro still amazes me. In a word, a splendor, the smile of this album.

When I was listening to  Chinatown, I looked at my wife with a bright smile, tears in my eyes and told her :" I know this song !!! ". The diehard fans like me own some rare collection items and amongst them, some demos… So I turned my cds upside down and found my 77’s demo, the one that had no lyrics yet !!!! A West Coast sound and so funky, a Georgy Porgy-like. A come back to the first album.

Co-written by David Paich and Michael Sherwood, All The Tears That Shine is a ballad sung by David Paich. The voices mix harmoniously, in a Lea –like style. A very nice song.

 Michael McDonald had been announced…

Then, it will be with no doubt on Fortune, with a sound so specific to the former singer of the Doobie Brothers! It grooves like hell !!! Another special credit to Tal Wilkenfeld and her huge bass line.

The best will be for the end, with the masterpiece of the album, Let’s not mince words!, Great Expectations. I can’t describe it in a few words, it’s prog rock, pop, rock, jazzy, fusion al at the same time, in a word TOTO!!!! Divided into several parts, the song is complex and shows the very essence of this band, a rediscovered unity, a family. For the purists, there will be a twelth track on the Japonese release, Bend, sung by Steve Porcaro, in a Secret Love-like tone. It ends this album rather well and gives us a slight perspective on the exceptional quality of TOTO XIV.

The backgrounds vocals, the keys, Luke’s guitar, Carlock’s top-notch drums play and chorus you can’t get rid of and keep playing inside your head all day long… definitely one of the best songs of the band.

TOTO GUYS ARE BACK!


 

 

 
 

 

TOTO XIV

1. Running Out Of Time (S. Lukather / D. Paich / J. Williams) 4:06
2. Burn (J. Williams / D. Paich) 4:56
3. Holy War (S. Lukather / CJ Vanston / J. Williams) 5:24
4. 21st Century Blues (S. Lukather / CJ Vanston) 6:08
5. Orphan (D. Paich / J. Williams / S. Lukather) 3:56
6. Unknown Soldier (D. Paich / S. Lukather) 5:06
7. The Little Things (S. Porcaro/ A.Willis) 4:35
8. Chinatown (D. Paich / M. Sherwood) ) 5:08
9. All The Tears That Shine (D. Paich / M. Sherwood) 5:10
10. Fortune (J. Williams) 4:47
11. Great Expectations (D. Paich / J. Williams / S. Lukather) 6:48
12. Bend (S.Porcaro / M.Sherwood) 2:48 (Bonus Jap)

More details

Steve Lukather – chants (1,3,4,6,8,10,11) guitares, basses (5, 6,11)
Joe Williams - chants (1,2,3,5,8,10,11)
David Paich – chants (8,9,11), piano, claviers
Steve Porcaro – chants (7,12), claviers
David Hungate - basses (3,4,7,8)
Tal Wilkenfeld - basses (9,10)
Lee Sklar - basses (2)
Tim Lefebvre – basse (1)
Keith Carlock - batterie
Lenny Castro - percussions
Martin Tillman - violon
CJ Vanston – add claviers, producteur
Michael McDonald, Amy Keys, Mabvuto Carpenter, Jamie Savko, Amy Williams – choeurs

 

 

 
 

Tour dates


Super Deluxe Editon box set (CD, DVD, 2LP, T-shirt, Poster etc)

CD+DVD Deluxe Edition

Japanese Blu-spec CD2 with T-shirt

Japanese Blu-spec CD2 / mini-LP CD - Cardboard Sleeve

2LP Vinyl Edition

 
 

Lyrics :

Running Out of Time
Burn
Holy War
Orphan

 

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