First and foremost guitarist Michael Thompson is a very popular studio musician who, in his long career, has provided work for numerous pop and rock artists. Every now and then he comes up with his own material like in 1988 with the CD ‘How Long’, one of the most brilliant AOR CD’s I have ever heard. Before that he was for a short while active with Jeff Paris (Thompson played on the Jeff Paris CD ‘Race To Paradise’). After that he went back to studio work before reappearing in 2012 with a second Michael Thompson Band CD called ‘Future Past’. On this CD he got assistance from Soleil Moon vocalist Larry King who steered the album in a slightly rockier direction and just as ‘How Long’ that album should be in the collection of any AOR/rock fan. And now there is ‘Love And Beyond’, only the third release in 30 years. Again Larry King is there on vocals, but so are song writer extraordinaire Mark Spiro (vocals) and the two Unruly Child musicians Guy Allison (keyboards) and Larry Antonino (bass). And it turns out that Mister Antonino can sing a decent tune as well, so we have got three top notch singers to enjoy on this album that has place for 18 songs. That seems a lot but 7 of them are short guitar interludes where Michael Thompson adds a lot of atmosphere and smoothness to the album. So at the end of the day about 11 songs are with vocals. It soon becomes very clear that Thompson and Spiro as main song writers have managed to go back to that already mentioned ‘How Long’ album. ‘Love And Beyond’ is a smooth, polished and exquisite pure AOR album with beautiful melodies, silky keyboards and jaw dropping guitar exploits from the master himself. Highlights? There are plenty there like the title track that starts the proceedings. In fact all songs are really up to scratch as far as I am concerned. Michael Thompson for sure has taken (yet again) his time to deliver the goods but when he delivers he does it in such an immaculate and classy manner. Must have CD for AOR and West Coast rockers! The last short instrumental that concludes the album is ,,’Til We Meet Again’’. Let that be soon please!
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