I went to a gig with my oldest friend the other week, and we were chatting about the future. I’m a month older than him, but we worked out that even allowing for the retirement age going up, we’ve probably got 20 years left at work.

That scared the shit out of me. It still was when “Bridges” arrived. Help is at hand because after singing, “It’s never too late to start over” on the opener, “Far From Over,” Steve Lukather goes deeper. “Don’t count me out until I’m 6ft underground,” reasons Steve Lukather. The most striking thing is the fresh rock sound.

And the reason for thinking about friendship and the thought of what is to come? Well, even more than the fact that I’m getting old, on “Bridges,” it’s right through its DNA. As “Luke” puts it: “The fact that Joseph Williams, David Paich, and I wrote most of the record, and the fact I invited many of the old Toto gang to come and play, co-writers like Randy Goodrum and Stan Lynch brings all this together. It also proves that most of my old pals and I are still great friends, and I wanted to do a record ‘in the style of,’ as Toto will never record another studio album. This is as close as we will get.”

That’s even more the case on “….Over,” a co-write with his son Trevor; it feels like some joining of old and new. So does the record.
There’s a filthy groove on the funky “Not My Kind Of People,” but then he tops it off with “You’re the back of the pack, right up my ass crack.” Whoever it’s aimed at, politicians it seems? The turn of phrase is glorious.

After the hard rock at the opening, then he settles into something a little more sedate for “Someone,” while “All Forever’s Must End” is the sort of AOR he’s famed for, but my goodness, he and the band are good at it.

“When I See You Again” has a Journey-type vibe, but better, obviously, while there’s a sort of late-night-at-the-jazz-club feel to “Take My Love” as if he’s playing while they stack the chairs.

Interestingly, there’s a track here called “Burning Bridges” (the very last thing Lukather has done given how many of his mates are on this), and Steve Maggiora (current Toto Keys man) is sublime.

A short record, as if they cared about quality more than quantity, it ends with “I’ll Never Know,” and in doing so, “Bridges” is rooted in the classic sound but never welded to it.
Steve Lukather is 18 years older than me (If Wikipedia is right). If he can make an album this fresh yet still possessing the classic sound, then frankly, there’s not just hope for me, but there’s hope for us all.

Rating: 9/10

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