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Printable Version
10/27/03
Reviewed by -
Matt Rowe
Aerosmith
Toys in the Attic
Released: October 7, 2003
Origination Year: 1975
Time: 37:28
Tracks: 9
Produced by: Jack Douglas / Douglas Sax, Robert Hadley, James Guthrie
Style: Studio
Format: SACD
Enhancement: DSD MC/Stereo
Label: Columbia Records


Track Listing
  1. Toys in the Attic
  2. Uncle Salty
  3. Adam's Apple
  4. Walk This Way
  5. Big Ten Inch Record
  6. Sweet Emotion
  7. No More No More
  8. Round and Round
  9. You See Me Crying


Aerosmith

Steven Tyler:
Vocals / Keyboards / Harmonica

Joe Perry:
Guitars

Brad Whitford:
Guitars

Joe Kramer:
Drums / Percussion

Tom Hamilton:
Bass

The list of important albums making the move to SACD gets one better with inclusion of Boston's Aerosmith and their chart breaking Toys in the Attic. Aerosmith have gone through the toughest of times throughout their long career yet maintaining all original members. Their immensely popular style of blues-rock defined with Get Your Wings and honed in Toys in the Attic provided the lift that propelled the band into superstardom that, while it has gone through self-induced lulls, remain as popular albeit a dilution of their former selves. Compare any Geffen material to their Columbia years and the above statement is easily validated. But before you get medieval on me though, please note that I refer to their recorded works. Their stage presence will always be in the upper echelon of shows.

Toys in the Attic feature several well known hits including "Walk this Way" that later went through a conversion of sorts with Run-DMC and yielding a rebirth for the song. Also from the album, "Sweet Emotion", another success story. This album greatly influenced the shape of their 4th album, Rocks, an album sure to be around the corner for SACD treatment.

Steven Tyler's sprightly vocals is the hallmark of the band with Perry's sharp and controlled guitars putting an edge to the songs. Every song on Toys in the Attic are measured doses after the raging fire of Get Your Wings as if singles were anticipated. It was singles they wanted and it was singles they got.

The SACD Stereo version for Toys in the Attic is a massive improvement over previous CD releases. Without going through the usual litany of 'shapes of sounds' and 'depth of stages' that we all know are the hallmark of SACD, I'd like to say that fans of Aerosmith will not be disappointed. "Walk This Way" is allowed to step outside the boundaries of flatness inherent in standard CDs as are all of the songs. It's truly amazing what a little DSD will do when placed into the hands of knowledgeable engineers who are not interested in tinkering. Instead, the power of DSD as a tool allows for purity extraction, plain and simple.

The Stereo layer was produced and mastered by Douglas Sax and Robert Hadley who does an admirable job. The vocals are crisp and clear, in the forefront. The instrumentation is defined and are not lost throughout. The 5.1 mix was mastered by Douglas Sax and James Guthrie. Guthrie, who was responsible for the 'crazy diamond' that was the SACD mix for Dark Side of the Moon is a credible craftsman who understands the ins and outs of DSD mixing.

And what craftsmen the 5.1 team turned out to be. I was stunned to hear the crystal clarity of Tyler's voice, at times isolated and emanating from the centre channel and occasionally sharing space with Hamilton's bass. The multichannel mix is the clear winner in this release. With MC this good, I could be a wholesale convert in no time. The Sax/Guthrie team never throws swirling guitars or flying this and that around the room. Instead, they relied on the quality of the music to carry the momentum. They've isolated instruments and voices, designating their spots as each songs demands.

It's clear that hi-res engineers and producers are now learning the craft as is witnessed by this year's releases including Toys in the Attic. Sax/Guthrie, among a few other experts will lead this phenomenon into the next generation of music. Of this, I'm sure.

Folks, this issue is a clear winner. Again, I'm not going to gush over the beauty of the sounds even though I could. Rather, I'm going to go Ebert and Roeper on this release and give it two very enthusiatic thumbs up. Aerosmith fans who have not gone hi-res yet is advised to compile a Christmas list, beg signifcant others for a machine, or even throw pennies into a jar in the hopes that they pile up fairly quickly. You're going to need time to soak this one up.

Copyright © 2002-2003 Matthew Rowe. All rights reserved.
All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech
FC1810

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..."
Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon, 2003