CD Review: Yoso – Elements

YosoElements is the debut CD from the new outfit Yoso, a band comprised of ex-members of Toto and Yes, which will get a North American release on July 27 (July 2 in Europe). Combining members of Yes with anything will bring up memories of 80s hitmakers Asia, which combined Yes members with King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Asia aimed to create a new and unique sound that was nothing like the bands it came from. Yoso is different. Sometimes the influences are so apparent you’d think you were listening to the new Yes album and other times, you’d think it was something new from Toto. With that being said, the fundamental elements that make up Yoso are vocalist Bobby Kimball (Toto) and ex-Yes members Billy Sherwood (bass/vocals) and Tony Kaye (keyboards).

The album starts off with a bit of self-glorification in the track Yoso, which sounds a bit like 90125-era Yes with some harmony vocals. The sound quickly changes in Path To Your Heart, which sounds like a Toto gem that might have made one of their Greatest Hits albums. The 12 track CD jumps around with its influences, but tries really hard to define a unique sound. Sometimes you can take the member out of a band and they’ll sound nothing like the previous band and other times magical mixes of “supergroups” merge the elements of their past. Yoso is a band that merges its past – and it does it well considering that Toto and Yes are about as far apart as one could be on the rock spectrum.

The main CD features some great tracks, including Yoso, Only One, Walk Away, Return To Yesterday and Path To Your Heart. It also comes with a bonus live CD which features some live versions of the Yoso songs, along with some covers including Toto’s Rosanna and Hold The Line and the Yes hit Owner Of A Lonely Heart. Yes fans also get treated to a Yes Medley (Yours Is No Disgrace/Heart of the Sunrise/South Side of the Sky/Starship Trooper/I’ve Seen All Good People).

For touring in support of Elements, the band have announced a couple new members. Joining Kimball, Sherwood and Kaye will be drummer Scott Conner (of Genesis tribute band Gabble Ratchet) and guitarist Johnny Bruhns (of Yes tribute band Roundabout). Live, the band play a mixture of classic Toto songs, Yes songs (mainly from 90125, on which Kaye performed) and Yoso material.