Two years after the release of I’ve Found the Sun Again, Steve Lukather’s ninth solo studio album, Bridges, is here. The new album has been given a more than appropriate title; the guitarist/singer/songwriter sees it as a bridge between his solo music and the music of Toto. The fact that the Toto triumvirate Joseph Williams, David Paich and Steve himself wrote most of the music on the album, coupled with the fact that a large part of the old Toto gang were invited to play, are to blame. Lukather wanted to make a record ‘in the style of’, as Toto will never record a studio album again, partly due to legal complications. The result comes as close as possible in his opinion.
Again produced by friend and fellow Toto musician Joseph Williams and featuring top musicians from the Toto family including Williams, David Paich Simon Phillips, Shannon Forrest, Lee Sklar and Steve Maggiora, Steve’s eldest son Trevor Lukather and Gov’t Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson are also present.
Opener Far from Over is a heavy rocker, much more representative of Lukather’s solo material than his work with Toto. He co-wrote it with son Trev, who also provided guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals. Not My Kind of People is just a small step lower, it continues to rock strongly with biting lyrics, recognisable guitar solo and strong riff. Open chords and a pronounced bass make Someone a haven after the heaviness of the first two songs, easy to sing-along to and another wonderful melodic guitar solo that ‘Luke’ has patented.
The inevitable ballad is All Forevers Must End. Lukather has already made many, his raw voice is extremely suitable for these kinds of songs, this time about a broken love. My personal favourite on Bridges is When I See You Again. All of Lukather’s talents come together, a compactly written song with a great riff and hook, enough balls to keep it creditable, his characteristic rock voice and the choruses of his Toto colleagues. Just listen to that typical instrumental part halfway through. And how about that solo at the end…
Take My Love is a slow blues in the best tradition of the genre. Current Toto keyboardist Steve Maggiora co-wrote the song and provides keys and backing vocals. The guitar solo could have been by, say, Gary Moore. Title track Burning Bridges rumbles on in an unrelenting four beats to the bar, reminiscent of ZZ Top with a vocal Toto twist and Luke’s signature solo. The closing I’ll Never Know is a bit of an odd one out, but nevertheless Lukather in full. An intriguing slow-paced song, carried by Luke’s passionate voice and guitar playing and a booming bass.
Eight songs and a total playing time of about 35-minutes is relatively short, a trend that already started on the previous album. An attempt to please the LP market or just a shortage of suitable songs?
It is clear, Lukather wants to break away from the Toto idiom. That is also clearly noticeable: this album carries the solo label much more than on previous albums. It’s just a bit more rough, a bit sharper around the edges than the sometimes smooth, over-produced Toto sound. Of course, the choruses, the melodic guitar lines, the well-crafted songs and the crystal clear production, they are all there, but it never gets slick and corny, as is sometimes the case with the famous hit orchestra. An excellent development in my opinion.
It is also characteristic that the ever vain Lukather has sworn off his black (dyed) hair and now goes through life with still lush but gray hair, more appropriate to his current age (65). It sounds like a man who is in balance with himself and has accepted the world around him as it is, just listen to the lyrics of the title track.
Steve Lukather has once again produced a tasteful and varied album, albeit a bit on the short side. It is a kind of transition from Toto to his own style, without completely saying goodbye to the past. Hence the title. Nice artwork by the way.
01. Far From Over (3:58)
01. Not My Kind Of People (3:56)
01. Someone (4:08)
01. All Forevers Must End (4:20)
01. When I See You Again (4:55)
01. Take My Love (5:22)
01. Burning Bridges (4:00)
01. I’ll Never Know (5:04)
Total Time – 35:43
Steve Lukather – Guitars, Bass, Lead Vocals
David Paich – Keyboards, Vocals
Joseph Williams – Keyboards, Vocals
Simon Phillips – Drums
Steve Maggiora – Keyboards, Vocals
Shannon Forrest – Drums
Lee Sklar – Bass
Jorgen Carlsson – Bass
Trev Lukather – Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Mascot Label Group
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 16th June 2023
– Bridges (2023)
– I Found The Sun Again (2021)
– Transition (2013)
– All’s Well That Ends Well (2010)
– Ever Changing Times (2008)
– Santamental (2003)
– No Substitutions: Live in Osaka (2001)
– Luke (1997)
– Candyman (1994)
– Lukather (1989)