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[REVIEW]: Elements (2010) by Yoso


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Yoso

Elements (2010)

Frontiers Records

Produced by: Billy Sherwood

 

For the Genre: ***-- (3/5)

Compared to the Era: ****- (4/5)

 

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 was a pretty nice one-off album. I really didn't think that the group was sustainable.

 

Sherwood and Kaye have gone off to work on a new project now, CIRCA: but I wonder what Kimball is doing now. There was a collaboration with Jimi Jameson which sounds AMAZING (CD is in the shopping queue) but now Jameson has announced his return to Survivor.

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