Toto sings love songs of little distinction or consequence, offering greeting-card verse and aural bouquets to fantasy lovers via the medium of cutting-edge studio technology and their own well-honed sessionman "chops." The group's cleverly titled new album, Toto IV, follows this formula to a T, mixing sodden ballads taken at tiptoeing-rhino tempos with booming, echoey rock songs.
Toto builds its AOR heroics upon a steady-as-a-metronome rhythm section and a vaguely gospel-tinged piano, which serve as a backdrop for David Paich and Steve Porcaro's Technicolor synthesizer wonderment. Guitarist Steve Lukather gets a fat sound with lots of sustain, sending his fingers into overdrive on the solos. And singer Bobby Kimball scales the upper registers in an L.A. approximation of blue-eyed soul.
This band of pros doesn't miss a trick: since Asia has lately become the platinum nom de plume of four British art-rock superstars, Toto has asserted its territorial imperative with a tune called "Africa"a ringer for the U.K. group's FM smash, "Heat of the Moment." There's even a touch of Asia on Toto IV in the artificially malleted xylophone sounds that pop up on occasion. Typical of an album that feels about as real as a Velveeta-orange polyester leisure suit. (RS 374)
(Posted: Jul 22, 1982)
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