The Michael Thompson Band's first album, 89s 'How Long', became a bit of a cult classic but didn't sell diddly squat, despite the critics and those in the know loving it.
In the years since, Thompson has acquired a huge customer base of A-list clients that clamour for his services, him being the go to guitarist for stars ranging from Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion, through *NSYNC to The Scorpions and Vince Neil. That's as well as working with his other outfit TRW. Now, he's back for another go with his second album 'Future Past'.
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Apart from the wonderful Larry King replacing Moon Calhoun on vocals, little else has changed over the intervening twenty three years. Just like its predecessor, 'Future Past' is an almost flawless collection of quality high end melodic rock songs.
The writing is top notch, the playing is tight, the production is not too pristine leaving just enough of a rough edge to give the album grunt and the keyboards have been prevented from swamping the lot.
If you've never heard any of MTB's stuff, think Dare with better songs and not so many ballads and you will be pretty much bang on the money. Generally speaking, 'Future Past' pretty much takes up where the first album left off and ticks all the right AOR boxes.
The album fair overflows with killer tracks too. There's 'Here I Am', the type of exhilarating song that Bon Jovi have been known to shit at will. 'High Times' and 'Can't Miss' have the ringing chimes of the eighties and 'Bring Me Down' has a serious bit of poke about it despite the deceptive ballad opening.
'Can't Be Right' has a beefy groove that is tempered by a subtly chiming keyboard while 'Future Past', the very Magnum 'Beautiful Mystery' and 'Fight For Your Life' are finely crafted chunks of West Coast rock.
In fact there is not a bad track on here and 'Future Past' is another perfect album for that sunny afternoon/convertible with top down/long straight road combination.
An AOR tour de force.