TOTO – Isolation [Rock Candy remaster] (2015)
Rock Candy specialists have ‘Remastered & Reloaded‘ TOTO‘s most celebrated ’80s albums few weeks ago. Let’s start with the catchy “Isolation“.
For this album, Lukather & Co. made the drastic decision to fire vocalist Bobby Kimball, replaced by the awesome Fergie Frederiksen (previously of pomp purists Trillion and Le Roux).
“Isolation” begins with ‘Carmen’, an excellent opener, catchy and engaging thanks to the duet between David Paich and Frederiksen’s gorgeous pipes, and it provides a good idea of what is about to come: the songs won’t really slow down except for ‘Lion’ (which is a midtempo anyway) and for the single true ballad of the album ‘How Does It Feel’, making the entire work energetic and really pleasant to listen to.
Considering the high number of ballads Toto provided with some of the previous albums, having just one here feels strange. If we also consider that the song manages to be unforgettable, we find what makes this album so good as all the previous ones: consistency.
Every song manages to get stuck in your head. If I could use only one word to describe this album, it would be “catchy”. Everything, from the vocals to the instrumentation, is catchy.
Speaking about the mentioned consistency, Toto keep firing one killer track after another: ‘Angel Don’t Cry’, ‘How Does It Feel’, the terrific title track, ‘Change Of Heart’… all are true ’80s AOR gems.
Sure, catchiness plays a huge role here (thanks mainly to Fergie Frederiksen’s harmonies) but the goodness of the instrumentation must not be forgotten.
Steve Lukather shines through the entire album and provides driving riffs (‘Change Of Heart’, ‘Carmen’) and solos. Actually, the solos are often short, but have the right punch and are carried by the superb keyboards.
A mention of honor goes in fact to the keyboardists: David Paich and Steve Porcaro not only help at giving an identity to each song, but often end up being the stars instead of Lukather (‘Mr. Friendly’, ‘Change of Heart’ or ‘Endless’). Last but not least, Jeff Porcaro provides another stunning performance with the drumming, keeping it catchy yet aggressive without being overly minimal.
‘Isolation’ is one of the most consistent albums in Toto’s career. It’s catchy, it’s energetic, it’s highly replayable, it’s solid, it’s awesomely well played, and it provides a lot of AOR anthems to sing to. Plus, it provides zero forgettable tracks.
The Rock Candy remaster is surprisingly loud – yet not brickwalled – giving the album and even highly pumping output. And I like it.
A MUST HAVE.
01 – Carmen
02 – Lion
03 – Stranger In Town
04 – Angel Don’t Cry
05 – How Does It Feel
06 – Endless
07 – Isolation
08 – Mr. Friendly
09 – Change Of Heart
10 – Holyanna
Fergie Frederiksen – lead vocals
Steve Lukather – guitars, lead and backing vocals
David Paich – keyboards, lead and backing vocals
Steve Porcaro – keyboards
Mike Porcaro – bass
Jeff Porcaro – drums, percussion
The London Symphony Orchestra – strings
James Newton Howard – orchestral arrangements
Lenny Castro, Joe Porcaro – percussion
Mike Cotten – synthesizer on “Stranger in Town”
Chuck Findley, Jerry Hey, Tom Scott – horns
Tom Kelly – backing vocal on “How Does it Feel”
Richard Page – backing vocal on “How Does it Feel”
Gene Morford – bass vocal on “Stranger in Town”
Bobby Kimball – backing vocals
BUY IT !