Michael Kratz is something of a big noise in his native Denmark, mainly through his exploits as drummer for local heroes Kandis, who run a neat line in country-inflected Eurovision music.
For this foray into solo album land, Kratz has opted to ditch the Jeux Sans Frontiers schtick for a more Transatlantic sound, enlisting quite a few big and not-so-big names to help out.
Kratz’ world-weary, care worn vocals fit the laidback (some of the tracks are almost horizontal) AOR/yacht rock he’s constructed perfectly. Live Your Life as a whole is framed as a heavy-lidded, late-night kind of album, which, a few spirited guitar solos aside, really doesn’t seek to get the blood boiling or the pulse racing. Rather, school choirs are enlisted, acoustic guitars strummed, keyboards caressed in an effort to provide an authentic-sounding eighties-influenced soft rock album.
Did I mention guitar solos? Perhaps of most interest to harder-rocking guitar aficionados will be the fact that AOR Gods Steve Lukather (Toto) and Michael Landau (Maxus, Michael Bolton) both contribute here, the former peeling off some nice work on This Town Is Lost Without You, the latter playing some fine guitar on opening track We All Live in This Nation. Duran Duran sideman Dom Brown plays a great solo on the album’s most energetic track Never Take Us Alive, but perhaps the best guest appearance comes from Christian Warburg (Paul Young), whose solo on Paradise Lost is out of the top draw, as is his extended blowout on superb closing track In Between.
Live Your Life is full of soft rock that verges on easy listening, then, and if I’m honest there are only three or four tracks I’ll be revisiting in the future. However, that’s not to say that this finely-crafted, superbly executed album isn’t deserving of some of your attention, even if it is just to hear some guitar work from the more exalted names on the team sheet.
Live Your Life is scheduled for release on March 3, 2018 via Art Of Melody Music / Burning Minds Music Group