Escape Music [Release date 24.06.16]
Culver Kingz maybe a new name, however the ideas for the musical pairing started back in 1983 when Michael Thompson and Billy Trudel planned a band called Slang. Sadly this never came to fruition and it wasn’t until 2011 that the pair decided to finally record an album together.
The music is a mix of laid back West Coast/AOR, with a large hint of soul and R&B in places. Michael Thompson does rock out occasionally on the old guitar as can be heard on ‘Chains Get Broken’. The soul/funky vibe of ‘Dirty Secret’ reminds me of Toto’s ‘Fahrenheit’ album, as does the gentle AOR of the title track, and what a wonderfully soulful and smooth vocal Billy Trudel has.
‘Wan Chai Girl’ is made for summer days and those R&B (that’s the dance meaning not the proper blues one!) compilations and soulful late night radio. I would be very surprised if this is not covered in the future by other artists.
Hopefully this album won’t get lost and become a hidden gem re-issued some years in the future as it deserves to be heard and enjoyed. A brave move by Escape, as although Michael Thompson is well known in melodic rock circles, this is not like any of his previous albums. It will appeal to a much wider audience outside of the loyal but small West Coast/AOR fan base. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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