His skill as guitar player and composer are undeniable; his experience with many great artists (see below) is mammoth. The first, eponymous, Michael Thompson Band album (1989, Geffen, aka How Long) has gained legendary status among fans of melodic rock AOR and the West Coast sound. Frontiers Records, heralds of all things AOR (and gargantuan fans of MTB), reissued the album in 2007. Now they pitch a new effort from Michael Thompson, Future Past.
Future Past is deceptive. It wants to seem ordinary, a simple venture into fundamental West Coast AOR. Three of the strongest songs start this album. High Times, the immensely catchy Can't Be Right, and title cut are are ambitious melodic rock. Then, listening to the heart of the album, When You Love Someone through Gypsy Road, the songs begin with often soft introduction which invite listening complacency. Then the build into this graceful and impressive arrangement with big hooks and Thompson's unfettered and stylish guitar work. Beautiful Mystery, End Game, and the subtly understated Gypsy Road are only three examples.
The album rounds out with a new, and fine, version of Can't Miss, the charting single from the 1989 album, and the inspirational and soaring Fight For Your Life. Again, the highlight here are the exquisite song arrangements and Thompson's fret work. The wild card, however, is vocalist Larry King (Soleil Moon), who, when trying to 'rock out,' only sounds strained and harsh. If he stays within his smooth range he's an asset to Thompson's songs and a pleasure to listen to.
Future Past is pure AOR melodic rock with a West Coast edge, and superb Michael Thompson. From composition to guitar playing, here's a standard to which peers and novices can aspire. Very recommended.
Thompson has worked with, to name several, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, 'N Sync, Toni Braxton, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, The Scorpions, Vince Neil, Christina Aguilera, Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey, Bette Midler, Madonna, Babyface, En Vogue, Gloria Estefan, Stanley Clarke and Ricky Marti He has playing credits with Eighties television shows Fame and Miami Vice.
Can you say, 'royalties'?
Future Past is pure AOR melodic rock with a West Coast edge, and superb Michael Thompson. From composition to guitar playing, here's a standard to which peers and novices can aspire.
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