ToTo TOTO XIV

Guitar Techniques - - MUSIC REVIEWS -

It’s been nearly 10 years since Toto’s Fall­ing In Be­tween but Toto XIV seems to reach much fur­ther back, be­ing an im­plied ‘se­quel’ to 1984’s iconic Toto IV. The line-up has changed again, al­beit still headed up by David Paich (keys) and Steve Lukather (gui­tar). The open­ing track, Run­ning Out Of Time is typ­i­cal; chug­ging rhythms, sear­ing gui­tar hook, whammy bar solo and huge vo­cals cour­tesy of Joseph Wil­liams (son of Star Wars’ com­poser) and co. Holy War is an­other mem­o­rable rocker, driven hard by Luke’s crunchy riff and a sta­dium styled screamer of a solo. The band’s AOR sound is firmly in check with their savvy melodic hooks and in­fec­tious rhythms, mar­ried to an ad­mirable dash of muso know-how. Stand­out track, 21st Cen­tury Blues ticks all th­ese boxes with a crack­ing shuf­fle feel and Luke’s blues fu­sion solo – per­haps his best here. For gui­tarists, there’s much to like; 12-string acous­tic on Un­known Sol­dier, pretty har­mon­ics on The Lit­tle Things, clipped dou­ble-stops on Chi­na­town, tasty licks on the outro to For­tune. Sadly, there’s no in­stru­men­tal this time round but for those han­ker­ing for great songs from th­ese stu­dio leg­ends, Toto XIV will do very nicely in­deed. is def­i­nitely a sim­i­larly au­da­cious and quirky el­e­ment to their mu­sic. In spite of many changes in per­son­nel and record la­bels the band has stayed busy and has nat­u­rally de­vel­oped over the years. Yet there’s still a naivety about their mu­sic that should en­cour­age any player to have a go. Per­haps this is more un­usual than star­tling mu­si­cally, but still def­i­nitely worth check­ing out. what else could be ex­pected from this leg­endary player? It’s al­most a one-man show as he plays gui­tar and bass, with the only help com­ing from drum­mer Chris Tag­gart. Trower has al­ways been great at cre­at­ing an at­mos­phere with his mu­sic and the whole al­bum benefits greatly from this. There’s a so­phis­ti­cated qual­ity too on tracks like Fallen and Til I Reach Home, and lots of high spots too. We par­tic­u­larly like Riff No 7 (Still Alive) that cap­tures so much of the sound and de­liv­ery that we as­so­ciate with the man. Gen­er­ally it’s late night slow blues with an oc­ca­sional lift in tempo and de­liv­ery for The One Sav­ing Grace and Up And Gone. Robin re­marks that “I can’t re­mem­ber ever be­ing so happy with a fin­ished al­bum be­fore’”. We would add that it’s a pol­ished per­for­mance that’s easy on the ear and well worth a lis­ten.

Fron­tiers Mu­sic

first with his band af­ter their per­son­nel shake-up in 2013. It re­ally shows his prow­ess as a per­former. It’s es­sen­tially blues but with some­thing of a blue­grass el­e­ment that’s par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent on the open­ing track, I Am The Train and Brandy Bal­loon with lead gui­tar du­ties fall­ing to Dusty Cig­gaar who does a ster­ling job through­out. We par­tic­u­larly like this ver­sion of the Harry Stephen­son song, Writ­ing On The Wall and the slide work on Early Grace and Please Don’t Fail Me. Sie­gal has gained seven Bri­tish Blues Awards and two nom­i­na­tions for the US Blues Mu­sic Awards - the only Bri­tish blues artist to do so - and this al­bum and a tour in March of­fers a great way to check out his mu­sic.

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