3. Stranger in Town
4. Angel Don’t Cry
5. How Does It Feel
3. Mr. Friendly
4. Change of Heart
Following the multi successful Toto IV Bobby Kimball had been removed from the band and original bassist Dave Hungate had left due to family issues. So ‘Isolation’ found Toto with a new singer in former Le Roux vocalist Fergie Frederiksen and a new bassist in Mike Porcaro. Making this the first full album to feature all three Porcaro brothers, Steve on keys, Jeff on drums and Mike on bass.
The album itself is a great one. Less jazzy then any before and a lot more technically sound. Jeff Porcaro plays some wonderful drums here and the interplay between keyboards and swirling guitars is sublime. Frederiksen’s vocals on the opening track ‘Carmen’ are blistering and stylish. ‘Lion’ keeps this up with it’s jungle bounce and hefty chorus. David Paich takes the lead for ‘Stranger in Town’ a number about Jack the Ripper that became a top ten hit for the band. ‘Angel Don’t Cry’ highlights Frederiksen again. He really is a fine replacement for Kimball. The mellow ballad ‘How Does it Feel’ brings Steve Lukather to the lead vocal duties, this is a beautiful slow tempo full on ballad in typical Toto style.
Side two starts with the great ‘Endless’. Here the whole band are at their best in a catchy tune with some superb playing throughout. The title track ‘Isolation has Lukather rocking along to a heavier beat than usual. It has a great sing along chorus and really rocks live. ‘Mr Friendly’ is the underrated track on the album. It has some fast keyboard playing, heavy drumming, great vocals, lots of hooks and just about ticks every box. ‘Change of Heart’ is quite simply fantastic. It rocks with some amazing Steve Porcaro keyboards. The orchestrated effects really bring this track to the forefront and the whole band once again play notes that are just so complicatedly perfect that it is a real pleasure to listen to. The album ends with ‘Holyanna’ David Paich taking the lead on quite a fun number with a great chorus.
Peter Devine September 2016