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Noted West Coast session guitarist Michael Thompson branched out with his own band who released one solitary album in the late 80's, which became cult listening in AOR circles and now gets a timely re-release.

The original hype passed me by - indeed, my copy went back to the Record and Tape Exchange after one listen- so I listened again with a degree of nervousness. The CD is super smooth and anyone looking for crashing rhythms and powerchords had better search elsewhere. The arrangements are very much designed to place the spotlight on clear, soulful vocals from Moon Calhoun and Thompson's guitar, tasteful and restrained but occasionally given room to flex out his jazzy style, somewhat like Steve Lukather- check out his extended solo on the seven minute Give Love A Chance.

Songs like opener Secret Information and Wasteland are classic pieces of eighties AOR, balanced by laid back ballads such as Never Stop Falling and the pop-rock of Can't Miss and Gloria. But the overall feel is of slick west coast music, at times verging on white soul: recommended for fans of the likes of Fahrenheit-era Toto, Chicago and Richard Marx.

I've partly been won over by this album now, but the three bonus tracks are almost worth buying the CD for in their own right- Right to be Wrong and Love Goes On (Jeff Paris's song I can't Let Go with a different title) rock much harder than the rest of the album, while Wheelchair is Calhoun's spiritually uplifting tale of his current condition.


Review by Andy Nathan

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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