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Michael Thompson Band: Future Past

Michael Thompson may be a name unfamiliar to some but for those of us who read through album credits that is most certainly not the case. He's appeared alongside some of the biggest names in popular music. Want Proof? How's about 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 and Gloria Estefan. Obviously there are some utterly horrible artists there but clearly he's held in high esteem and in his spare time he likes to make high quality West Coast AOR! Who'd have thought that?

Mr. Thompson himself takes care of guitars and keyboards ably abetted by Larry King on vocals, Khari Parker on drums alongside Alan Berliant on bass and they have produced a real smooth piece of melodic rock which takes in Toto influences alongside a remarkable similarity to 1980s Magnum. More than once I had to check that the vocals were supplied by the aforementioned Larry King (not the one with the braces) and not cuddly old Bob Catley. Don't believe me? Check out the opener "High Times" or for that matter practically anything on Future Past.

In a wholly unsurprising move the album is liberally spruced with tasteful (too tasteful) guitars courtesy of the band leader. The other thing to mention is the crystal clear production. Even the drums sound like somebody is actually playing a drum kit which is not always the way with Frontiers Records. Future Past is in no way aimed at the average Cannibal Corpse/Napalm Death fan but is in every way aimed at those who enjoy smooth, toe-tapping melodic rock.

Track Listing:
1 High Times
2 Can't be Right
3 Future Past
4 When You Love Someone
5 Here I Am
6 Beautiful Mystery
7 Break Me Down
8 End Game
9 Gypsy Road
10 Can't Miss 2012
11 Fight For Your Life

Added: May 20th 2012
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 2604
Language: english

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Michael Thompson Band: Future Past
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-05-19 17:14:09
My Score:

In musician's circles Michael Thompson may well be best known as a go to songwriter and session musician. However for lovers of quality, slick, smooth melodic rock, the 1989 self titled Michael Thompson Band debut album is a record still spoken of in hushed, revered tones.

For a variety of reasons there has, up until now, never been a follow up to MTB, something that Thompson was - once the clamour for a reissue of said debut proved people did actually care - keen to rectify through Future Past. The band surrounding him may well have completely changed, however there's no denying that this album still picks up from where Thompson left off some 23 years ago. Vocal duties are handled by Larry King, the introduction of whom has proved to be a masterstroke, with his earthy warm tones holding a strong flavour of Magnum frontman and hand gesticulator, Bob Catley. With the vibe of the album sitting somewhere between AOR, Westcoast and husky, gentle pomp, King is singing in territory perfectly moulded to his voice, raising already beautifully crafted songs to the category of seriously special.

There's no point in suggesting that MTB are reinventing the wheel here - they are not. However there's also no reason in pretending that I haven't repeatedly basked in each and every one of the eleven songs on Future Past. If you can imagine an album that takes all of the best aspects of the likes of Journey, Magnum, John Elefante, Dare, Foreigner and Shadow King, then you'll get an idea of the sleek, classy fare on show. Thompson hasn't raked up an amazingly impressive and eclectic list of album credits without being a phenomenal guitar talent and whether it is the latter day Journey of "Beautiful Mystery", the out and out Magnum-fest of "Can't Be Right", or the gloriously John Elefeante/Mastedon like "Break Me Down", his six string efforts are utterly irresistible. These three songs, and for that matter the other eight, all flow beautifully, sounding effortless and unforced in a way that few melodic rock albums seem able to achieve these days. Admittedly having a faultless bright production helps this album's cause immeasurably, but that wouldn't mater a jot if it wasn't highlighting a set of great songs.

It is great to have the Michael Thompson Band back, and I have no hesitation in describing Future Past as the best pure melodic rock album I've heard so far this year!

Michael Thompson Band: Future Past
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-04-03 10:50:17
My Score:

Geffen Records released big-shot session guitarist Michael Thompson's How Long in 1989 under the Michael Thompson Band moniker. That album (reissued by Frontiers Records in 2007) became an AOR/melodic-rock cult classic and featured such names as Terry Bozzio, Pat Torpey, John Elefante and Bobby Kimball. Now MTB returns (finally) with Future Past, 51 minutes of sophisticated melodic hard rock. The big names backing him are gone, but Thompson has found a killer singer in husky-voiced Larry King. (Not that Larry King; this King is from the Chicago-based pop/rock band Soleil Moon.) Songs like the storming "Can't Be Right" and the ballad-of-a-rocker "Gypsy Road" march the genre straight into 2012 with brilliant production and just the right amount of throwback thrills; to quote from the title track, "the future meets the past." Meanwhile, "Can't Miss" sounds as if is should have been included on How Long. Of course, Thompson plays clean and brilliantly, also handling keyboard duties. A few too many ballads "(When You Love Someone," "Fight For Your Life," the title track and the Dennis DeYoung-ish "Break Me Down") drag down Future Past just a bit. But this still ranks among the finer recent melodic-rock releases from Frontiers.

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