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YOSO - 'Elements' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/71/20/2c/634_yosoelements_1285459646.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 26, 2010    
 
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Not great all the way through, but the good bits are hard to ignore.

The peculiarly named YOSO are really a continuation of the progressive rock band Circa, which featured both ex-Yes/Detective keyboard player Tony Kaye and former Yes/World Trade multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer Billy Sherwood. They’ve now teamed up with famed Toto singer Bobby Kimball to form what, for all intents, purposes and promo photos is essentially a trio, even though guitarist Johnny Bruhns and drummer Scott Conner are also listed as full band members. 

With the background of the people involved, this debut album actually sounds exactly like you’d expect it to. Sherwood in particular has always been a Trevor Rabin-like multi-talented character, and it’s his World Trade and the commercial Yes influences that lie heaviest here, whilst on the occasional funky west-coast leanings the familiarity of Kimball’s voice just screams Toto. It’s my educated guess that Sherwood is the biggest player here as the songs and instrumentation have his stamp all over them, especially his layered backing vocals on the superb ‘Yoso’ itself which kicks off the album in brilliant style with complex countermelodies and Bruhns’ off the wall guitar solos. Kaye also has his day in the sun with more freedom on the Hammond organ than he has since early Yes, and the sympathetic production, also by Sherwood, gives everyone equal billing and nice spacious live sound.

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There’s a distinct Toto edge to ‘Path To The Heart’, ‘Close The Curtain’ and ‘Only One’ and Kimball’s voice is surprisingly strong throughout, similarly the Yes-like ‘Come This Far’ and ‘Walk Away’ threaten to break into something more adventurous but stay on the simpler side of progressive rock. The album works best when they find middle ground between Yes and Toto like on the upbeat ‘The New Revolution’, the killer title-track and the epic closing song ‘Return To Yesterday’, but unfortunately that doesn’t happen often enough and as well written and performed as these songs are, truly exciting moments are few and far between.

The real bonus here is a live disc of the band playing three originals from the album (‘Yoso’, Walk Away’ and ‘To Seek The Truth’) amongst a set of Toto and Yes covers, of which the Yes tracks ‘Cinema’, ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’ and an early medley are the best, but it’s also nice to hear the lesser known Toto songs ‘Good For You’ and ‘Gift With A Golden Gun’ amongst ‘Hold The Line’, ‘Rosanna’ and a lively ‘White Sister’. ‘Elements’ is a good album that’s actually one of the best produced discs I’ve heard in a while. It’s not great all the way through, but the good bits are hard to ignore.

Phil Ashcroft

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Average user rating from: 2 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
3.5
Production Quality 
 
3.5  (2)
Music Quality 
 
3.5  (2)
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3.0  (2)
Value for Money 
 
4.0  (2)
I really felt like I got my money’s worth on this album: two CDs, the original album with 6 out of 12 tracks I truly enjoyed, nice artwork, and songs filled with Tony Kaye’s delightful synth work, Bobby’s legendary vocals and the extremely underrated production, composing and arrangement of the great Billy Sherwood. Great examples of his production come on fantastic tracks like the opening number, “Yoso” – very lush with everything coming together at just the right moments. “Walk Away,” which not only achieves the same things but does so with a simple yet delightful bass line and using Jeff Porcaro’s Rosanna-shuffle. Great examples of arrangements come on songs like “Path to your Heart” and “Where You’ll Stay,” the latter that really channels the great songwriting styles of composers of the 70s. Another song like that is the final track, “Return to Yesterday” which is very Yes-like in its acoustic emphasis. One of my favorite songs for how it was produced was “Come This Far.”

Elements comes packaged as a double-disc Digipak; and, while I usually dislike paper-board bound compact discs, the dual-CD jewel cases are so fragile and awkward to handle, I actually like how much easier it is not break the packaging to get to the other disc. On this release, the disc consists of a live performance that is a mix of Yes and Toto songs, much like the name of this supergroup—consisting of Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye and multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood, and ex-Toto frontman Bobby Kimball. The booklet provides all the lyrics and credits and lots, and lots of photos of the trio—in the studio, in the woods, on a photography studio set, etc, etc, etc. For some reason, MelodicRock.com didn’t much care for the artwork on the cover but I actually liked it a lot. I wish they have had explored the concept of what they were doing more instead of all the extra pictures of the guys.

It is unfortunate that Yoso is now defunct; I hear they wrote additional songs for a follow-up record, but things have been interesting between Bobby Kimball, Toto, Frontiers and, I suppose, Kaye and Sherwood—to say the least, which is a shame. I was a big fan of the live footage I saw of their performance of Cinema/Owner of a Lonely Heart and, “Walk Away,” one of the finest tracks on this album.
Overall rating 
 
2.8
Production Quality 
 
3.0
Music Quality 
 
3.0
Artwork  
 
2.0
Value for Money 
 
3.0
Reviewed by STARFIRE December 05, 2011
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (4)

A rare example of good things that came from a supergroup.

I really felt like I got my money’s worth on this album: two CDs, the original album with 6 out of 12 tracks I truly enjoyed, nice artwork, and songs filled with Tony Kaye’s delightful synth work, Bobby’s legendary vocals and the extremely underrated production, composing and arrangement of the great Billy Sherwood. Great examples of his production come on fantastic tracks like the opening number, “Yoso” – very lush with everything coming together at just the right moments. “Walk Away,” which not only achieves the same things but does so with a simple yet delightful bass line and using Jeff Porcaro’s Rosanna-shuffle. Great examples of arrangements come on songs like “Path to your Heart” and “Where You’ll Stay,” the latter that really channels the great songwriting styles of composers of the 70s. Another song like that is the final track, “Return to Yesterday” which is very Yes-like in its acoustic emphasis. One of my favorite songs for how it was produced was “Come This Far.”

Elements comes packaged as a double-disc Digipak; and, while I usually dislike paper-board bound compact discs, the dual-CD jewel cases are so fragile and awkward to handle, I actually like how much easier it is not break the packaging to get to the other disc. On this release, the disc consists of a live performance that is a mix of Yes and Toto songs, much like the name of this supergroup—consisting of Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye and multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood, and ex-Toto frontman Bobby Kimball. The booklet provides all the lyrics and credits and lots, and lots of photos of the trio—in the studio, in the woods, on a photography studio set, etc, etc, etc. For some reason, MelodicRock.com didn’t much care for the artwork on the cover but I actually liked it a lot. I wish they have had explored the concept of what they were doing more instead of all the extra pictures of the guys.

It is unfortunate that Yoso is now defunct; I hear they wrote additional songs for a follow-up record, but things have been interesting between Bobby Kimball, Toto, Frontiers and, I suppose, Kaye and Sherwood—to say the least, which is a shame. I was a big fan of the live footage I saw of their performance of Cinema/Owner of a Lonely Heart and, “Walk Away,” one of the finest tracks on this album.

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This is a strange one to review, as a fan of both Toto and Yes the idea of three members joining up left me feeling slightly perplexed at first. I need not have been concerned as after a couple of plays everything began to slot into place and the bigger picture began to emerge - a picture of both progressive and melodic styles with the voice behind the sound of Toto's Bobby Kimball and the bass / keyboards of Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye respectably. The combination of this trio have delivered various styles including the up-tempo "The New Revolution" as well as two gorgeous ballads (of the highest standard) "To Seek the Truth" and the emotive "Where You’ll Stay" master craftsman seems to be an apt description of YOSO. The copy that I got has the bonus disc of live material by the group covering various Toto and yes songs. With "Rosanna" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart" deserving special mention along with "Starship Trooper" and the timeless "Hold the Line" the live CD just makes a good value purchase even better in these cash strapped times and as usual Frontier records have got the right idea buy presenting it in a lovely cardboard fold out digi pack.

Good music and nice presentation: You can't go wrong.


SPEEDY HICKS
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Production Quality 
 
4.0
Music Quality 
 
4.0
Artwork  
 
4.0
Value for Money 
 
5.0
Reviewed by speedy September 26, 2010
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (4)

YOSO - Elements

This is a strange one to review, as a fan of both Toto and Yes the idea of three members joining up left me feeling slightly perplexed at first. I need not have been concerned as after a couple of plays everything began to slot into place and the bigger picture began to emerge - a picture of both progressive and melodic styles with the voice behind the sound of Toto's Bobby Kimball and the bass / keyboards of Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye respectably. The combination of this trio have delivered various styles including the up-tempo "The New Revolution" as well as two gorgeous ballads (of the highest standard) "To Seek the Truth" and the emotive "Where You’ll Stay" master craftsman seems to be an apt description of YOSO. The copy that I got has the bonus disc of live material by the group covering various Toto and yes songs. With "Rosanna" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart" deserving special mention along with "Starship Trooper" and the timeless "Hold the Line" the live CD just makes a good value purchase even better in these cash strapped times and as usual Frontier records have got the right idea buy presenting it in a lovely cardboard fold out digi pack.

Good music and nice presentation: You can't go wrong.


SPEEDY HICKS

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