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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Thompson, Michael (Band) - 2012 Future Past
Thompson, Michael (Band) - 2012 Future Past

ARTIST: Thompson, Michael (Band)
ALBUM: Future Past
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2012


LINEUP: Michael Thompson - guitars, keyboards * Larry King - vocals * Khari Parker - drums * Alan Berliant - bass

Guests: John Blasucci - keyboards * Dave Hiltebrand - bass (03, 04, 05, 06, 07) * Matt Walker - drums (01) * Sahara Thompson - background vocals (10) * J.P. Delaire - keyboards, background vocals, sax (10)

TRACK LISTING: 01 High Times * 02 Can't Be Right * 03 Future Past * 04 When You Love Someone * 05 Here I Am * 06 Beautiful Mystery * 07 Break Me Down * 08 End Game * 09 Gypsy Road * 10 Can't Miss * 11 Fight For Your Life


It doesn't take a bright spark or a rocket scientist to know that studio guitar great Michael Thompson released one of the best CD's of 1989 in 'How Long', with a host of great players in attendance. One of the keys on that album (apart from main-man Thompson) were the subtle but effective vocals of Moon Calhoun, an underrated singer if ever there was one. The one-time voice for The Strand sounded like a million bucks on that record, and with that introduction out of the way, I announce the newest Michael Thompson Band album 'Future Past'. Sure it's been 23 years in the making, but Thompson has been busy on his own solo records, plus appearances elsewhere during that time. One of this appearances was on the Chicago based project Soleil Moon, released back in 2000. That project featured singer Larry King and keyboardist/pianist John Blasucci. 12 years later, the duo return the favour and hook up with Thompson on 'Future Past'. I loved King's vocal gymnastics on Soleil Moon's 'Worlds Apart' CD, but his delivery here is not as smooth nor as subtle as Calhoun's contribution previously, but Larry is an awesome singer and his contribution here is top-notch.

The Songs
Of course it's the guitar of Michael Thompson that is the centrepiece of this album, well it should be and it is! The songs are well produced as you would expect, but they sound completely different from the material on 'How Long' if one was to make a comparison between the two. Leading with the strident anthem 'High Times', MTB are not starting out half-hearted, as this one drives hard hard from the get-go. 'Can't Be Right' is also surging with strong coffee injected into the veins. I enjoyed Thompson's simple but engaging guitar melodies on the title track 'Future Past', this one cruises at mid-pace mostly, and King's vocals are just perfect here. We soon drift into melodramatic balladry with 'When You Love Someone', and it's as beautiful as one can can expect from the MTB team. A lovely tune which will sit in the top 10 ballads of the year I would expect. 'Here I Am' picks up the pace, a galloping tune with some neat modern keyboard effects making this a contemporary effort and at least making MTB sound relevant in 2012. I like it a lot. Another album highlight is the magnificent gentle pulsing of 'Beautiful Mystery'. It's caught somewhere between Mark Spiro and Bill Champlin; a winning recipe if you ask me! 'Break Me Down' has a fair bit of acoustic elements, the arrangement the closest in style to 'How Long's material, Thompson's guitar work a delight to listen to. Larry King holds the key to 'End Game', a power-vocal performance which rides over the ebb/flow structure (gentle mid-paced verses versus stronger intense bridges and chorus). As per the title, 'Gypsy Road' has a certain pastoral charm to it. Acoustic, mid-west in style, and soaring delivery from all involved. There's a 2012 revision of 'Can't Miss' too. Good to hear this updated with Thompson, King, Blasucci, plus guest keyboardist/sax player J.P Delaire giving it a different dimension altogether. Finishing up with 'Fight For Your Life', sounds like a Soleil Moon cast-off, I like the way the acoustic and orchestral aspects integrate on this one, coming together as an anthemic ballad of sorts. Thompson's soaring guitar solo is an absolute winner!

In Summary
It's taken me nearly an entire year to get around to reviewing this. I felt I needed to get this one written as it could be a contender for a top 10 album nomination. There are some beautiful songs onboard, I just need to spend more time playing it, probably in the car or on the train. Problem is: I have so many reviews to complete before the end of the calendar year, so it's all hands to the tiller. In the meantime, if 'Future Past' has passed you by from earlier in the year, make sure you at least get a copy. Perhaps a belated Christmas present for yourself? lol!

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