With a career spanning five decades and a string of well-known hits like "Hold the Line" and "Africa" well and truly embedded into the fabric of pop culture, Toto have succeeded in being one of the most influential bands and widely-heard bands in the AOR and arena rock sub-genres. They've sold 35 millions records, won 6 Grammy Awards, and have been inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. But like most AOR and classic rock bands who came to prominence during the 70's and 80's, Toto began to disappear a little, things seemed to fizzle out a bit, and the gaps between albums grew from a couple of years to a few years, and eventually to nine years and counting... Until this album was announced.
I guess you could almost view this as a comeback. And with a lot of comebacks, you can never put too much faith in them. Often it just turns out to be a desperate attempt to recreate the style and persona that the artist/band once possessed naturally in a time when they were much younger, more vibrant, and more passionate, and it often simply underwhelms audiences or produces cringe-worthy results. This, however, does not appear to be the case with 'Toto XIV'. Judging from the snippets heard in the EPK, this band has actually been able to produce some very decent, energetic, emotive and well-written tunes.
The band themselves claim that they have created something special. Steve Lukather says it's "amongst the best we have ever tried to make". Regular guest musician Michael McDonald claims that it raises the bar on rock records in general. Producer CJ Vanston calls the album 'amazing' and believes that Toto "have taken everything up a huge notch". And Steve Porcaro dispels fears that the band is simply phoning it in by stating that "It would seem like a typical record that a band would do a cover album or they would do their blues album on... something where they just go through the motions, and it's just the opposite. The guys are just digging in this like their lives depend on it. They're really treating this like this is 'Toto V'".
The album's early reception has echoed this sentiment, too, with Something Else! Reviews describing it as "a visceral, entirely present return, one that acknowledges their best moments even as it builds upon them". So I think we can all be excited about this one.
The album will be released in Europe on 20/3, the UK and Oceania on 23/3, and North America on 24/3.