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Toto - 2006 Falling In Between



ARTIST: Toto
ALBUM: Falling In Between
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 273
YEAR: 2006

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Bobby Kimball - vocals * Steve Lukather - vocals, guitars * David Paich - keyboards, vocals * Greg Phillanganes - keyboards, vocals * Mike Porcaro - bass * Simon Philips - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Falling In Between * 02 Dying On My Feet * 03 Bottom Of Your Soul * 04 King Of The World * 05 Hooked * 06 Simple Life * 07 Taint Your World * 08 Let It Go * 09 Spiritual Man * 10 No End In Sight

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.toto99.com


Background
Here we are ladies and gentlemen. The long awaited 'anti-music establishment', 'fans only', 'Toto goes prog' album is finally here. 'Falling In Between' has so far been hyped as 'album of the year' by several music magazines and websites, that have glorified non-stop how Toto have returned to the harder-edged, progressive rock sound previously heard on legendary albums such as 'Hydra', 'Isolation' and more recently 'Kingdom Of Desire'. My experience as a music writer so far has taught me that praising an album upon its release so early on in the new year is a risky business. All in all, artists such as AC/DC (please Angus, a miracle is needed this time, mate!), Dio and Queensryche are all set to release their new opuses this year. Toto could face tough competition with such big names and eventually lose the match, one might argue. Truth is, Toto have delivered (after a couple of not so intriguing releases like 'Mindfields' and 'Through The Looking Glass') an album which on the basis of various factors and refreshing surprises, is nonetheless, bound to be a real winner. First of all, lets talk about the aforementioned hard rock/prog orientation. Steve Lukather hasn't delivered such powerful riffing probably since 1979, and his guitar wizardry both complements and intertwines David Paich's and Greg Phillinganes' keyboard work. What once were state-of-the-art perfectly crafted melodies have now become more daring, adventurous multi-faceted themes, such as the opening title-track, a Dream Theater-ish piece of work, beautifully menacing in Lukather's almost nu-metal riffs and Bobby Kimball's ferocious vocals, very reminiscent of his recent work on Tommy Denander's project. Second, there is Toto's humbleness. Not that the guys have ever been or acted like spoiled rock stars (they're better known as very private but overall nice studio cats), but with 28 years of worldwide fame and a reputation as some of Rock's greatest musicians behind them, they could have delivered something other than this. It could've been an average album, they could've gone out on tour, cash in a few more bucks to round out their bank accounts, sell out 10,000 seats arenas. Big money? No way. This album had to be one for the fans, made by a band so devoted to their supporters as to be their own greatest supporters! Otherwise why go public like Lukather recently did, describing major labels as 'people who don't do shit'.. 'they all suck' (sic). Why choose to go independent and release their new album on the Italian label Frontiers? Toto's strength must indeed come as much as from inner faith in their work, from the undying spiritual legacy provided by their fans, past present, and, given the new heights reached with 'Falling In Between'.. the future as well.


The Songs
There's only one single on the album, and somehow somewhere, it should already be a hit. It's called 'Bottom Of Your Soul'. It sits in-between 'Dying On My Feet', a superb jazz-flavoured tune, complete with percussion and horn section, a great solo by Lukather (one of the very few he takes during the entire album, few notes, tons of feeling) and great atmospheric keyboards by newcomer Greg Phillinganes, and 'King Of The World', a catchy hard rock/AOR tune, like the proverbial missing gem in a virtually perfect diadem. Those of you who, for one reason or another, who have always denied Toto's status as a hard rock band will probably now silenced once and forever with 'Taint Your World', a furious up-tempo track which represents a natural showcase for Simon Phillips' dexterity on the double bass drum. Funnily enough, had this track come out in the mid-80s, I'm pretty sure more than a few eyebrows would have been raised as Toto plagiarizing Van Halen! 'Let It Go' is an indeed inspired track as much as the title suggests. This time,Toto choose to venture into funk territory, even if the signature tempo and the choirs are already an acquired taste for the fans of the band. No more, no less, 100% Toto! 'Spiritual Man' is a personal favourite. A stunning ballad built around David Paich's delicate piano lines,and (sadly) perennially underrated vocal talent, slowly metamorphoses from a very intimate piece of work, into a somehow romantic and nostalgic take on the pomp-rock glory days of yore, Trillion's 'Clear Approach' perhaps being the most immediate comparison.


In Summary
Last but not least, and most importantly, there is the longevity factor. 'Falling In Between' is indeed the most untypical of all Toto's albums. It will take more than a few swirls to get used to. And so big is its fascinating complexity, that the next listening will sound unlike the previous one. You will get a different view on the Toto of 2006 with each new listen to the album.. unless you prove to be a lazy listener! Toto seemed to have had a real good time making the album, and only time will tell if it lives up to the expectations of long-time fans or whether it will it turn out to be an utter failure both in the eyes of the public and critics. Despite that, Toto have an impressive legacy of recorded music, and now with 'Falling In Between' they have broken new unexplored grounds and gained a new generation of fans.


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Comments
#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 13:12:08
Since the Magnificent 'Seventh One', it has been a bit of an up & downhill ride with Toto - I loved the new tracks from the 'Past To Present' Best of (yes I know Byron was on them), but thought 'Kingdom Of Desire' & 'Tambu' were somewhat patchy in places. 'Mindfields got things back on track big time, then we had the Covers album, which I still think wasn't as bad as alot made it out to be, but yes,we wanted new material right?? And finally after a 6 + year wait it is here.
'Falling In Between' just about covers all bases that the band have touched on previously, with a few new tricks aswell. The opening title track shows the band at their most Progressive & isn't the easiest way to start the album off, good though it is. 'Dying On My Feet' is also quite a challenge, but is brilliantly arranged, especially for the huge horn section in the final 2 minute . 'Bottom Of Your Soul' is prime time Toto circa 'The Seventh One' with a fine vocal from Joseph Williams.
'King Of The World' is another more commercial track featuring Paich, Lukather & Kimball all sharing vocals. 'Hooked is a pretty straightforwrd rock track with a few more Proggy elements featuring Ian Anderson on flute - good solo from Luke also. 'Simple Life' is an excellent Luke sung ballad, but way too short (was just getting into this then it ends - hit repeat x4). 'Taint Your World' is all balls out with an excellent Bobby Kimball vocal - A great live song for sure.
Initially 'Let It Go' reminds me of 'Jake To The Bone' from 'Kingdom Of Desire' especially in the rhythm section arrangement & it's loose feel, also notable for a great, soulful Greg Phillinganes vocal. 'Spiritual Man' is fabulous & my album highlight. A gospel tinged ballad featuring vocals from Paich, Phillinganes & Kimball & a massive gospel choir at the finish. 'No End In Sight' mixes the tempos between verse/chorus & again reminds me of 'The Seventh One' era & ends the album in fine style.
The Jap bonus 'The Reeferman' is basically a 2 minute studio jam session that doesn't really do alot. This is without a doubt the best Toto album since 'The Seventh One' & with time will probably be looked upon as one of the strongest albums they have ever recorded. Bobby Kimball hasn't sounded this good in years, whilst the rest of the band sound fresh & Invigorated compared to the last few albums & this comes across big time in the whole sound of the record. Album of the year? Very Probable
 
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