Morales, Michael - 1991 Thump

richardbrichardb Poole, Dorset

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ARTIST: Morales, Michael
ALBUM: Thump
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 849 468-2
YEAR: 1991

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Michael Morales - all guitars, drums, keyboards, basses, voices and programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Thump * 02 I Don't Wanna See You * 03 Walk On Water * 04 I Can't Get Over You * 05 How Many Tears * 06 What Do You Know * 07 Greenlight * 08 Look In My Eyes * 09 What Will I Do * 10 Dream Of You * 11 Blessed Ground

Background

Michael Morales is something of a favourite amongst GDM readers and writers alike. His debut was an immaculately produced affair courtesy of Roy Thomas Baker (Journey, Queen, The Cars).

It included some memorable tunes ('Romeo' and 'Hey Lori' being prime examples) and even yielded a couple of hits in 'Who Do You Give Your Love To?' and that old chestnut 'What I Like About You'.

Ironically Morales reputedly hates the latter hit because he felt it was foisted upon him by Roy Thomas Baker. Therefore it's probably not a good idea to ask him to play it at your birthday party, or wedding reception.

'Thump' his second and arguably best album was recorded after a two year hiatus largely caused by studio construction problems (if the liner notes are anything to go by). This certainly makes a change from the usual excuse of record company shenanigans being blamed for the delay in an album's release.

The Songs

Not content with just being a one man hand, Morales also handled production duties (with his brother's assistance) and either co-wrote or wrote all the songs on 'Thump'. Whereas the debut straddled the thin line between pop and rock 'Thump' sees Morales feet more squarely placed in the rock camp.

The Morales production is typically OTT, with layers of multi-tracked vocals. His particular brand of AOR is still slicker than an iceberg in an oil slick, although there's a natural progression from the debut.

Morales has upped the heaviness and the guitar work packs more punch (or should that be thump?) second time around. It also helps that Morales is an excellent vocalist with a soulful, rasping delivery and his multi-tracked vocals are used to great effect ensuring 'Thump' is a compelling listening experience for the die-hard AOR fan.

The title cut is a lively opener with an insistent driving beat and the sumptuous multi-tracked vocal harmonies deliver an irresistible hook line that always ensures repeat play. It's the first of many quality songs on this album - all with solid gold hook lines.

'I Don't Wanna See You' and 'Walk On Water' are memorable mid paced affairs and the vocal harmonies on 'I Can't Get Over You' are quite simply stunning.

Morales ups the ante on 'What Do You Know' and 'Green Light', which are solid rockers containing big booming guitars and walls of vocals which will have you punching the air with delight.

'Look Into My Eyes' and 'What Will I Do' are strident expansive numbers and once again Morales impresses with his emotive vocal delivery.

There's a brief respite with heartfelt ballad 'Dream Of You' and the house is brought down with the rousing anthem and semi-auto biographical 'Blessed Ground'. If you listen carefully to the lyrics for this song there's a certain bitter irony, given how events subsequently unravelled for Morales many years later. I don't propose to go into any further detail, though suffice to say it's well documented on the internet if you really need to know..

In Summary

They say a week is a long time in politics, well two years in the music business is interminable and unfortunately by the time 'Thump' was released in 1991, grunge was at the peak of its powers. Consequently 'Thump' died a death at the box office and was swiftly destined for the cut out bins.

These days Morales divides his time between running his Grammy award winning studio (Studio M) and his very own school of rock, 'The Michael Morales Rock Star Academy' (I kid you not).

As my eldest son is always complaining about his Dad's taste in music perhaps I should send him there for his education, my wife in particular could use the break.

Hopefully he will put 'Thump' on my son's curriculum as required listening for his schooling as a future rock star in the making.


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