By Paul Woodward, Woody’s Rock Reviews
If you enjoy the genre you are going to fall head over heels in love with ‘Live Your Life’ which is full of exemplary musicianship and beautiful songs.
Denmark’s Michael Kratz has a wealth of music industry experience and this shows in his compositions and performances on ‘Live Your Life’, which are of an extremely high calibre. Kratz creates and performs in various musical styles and genre’s but here on ‘Live Your Life’ he delivers an old school West Coast album which showcases various aspects of this sub-genre, frequently emulating the sound of Toto the undisputed king of west coast AOR.
Full of atmospheric songs taking elements of pop and indeed prog into the mix creating a really enchanting and beautiful opus. There’s lots of variation in the songs, laid back ballads, meandering atmospheric numbers and straight ahead upbeat commercial fixes like ‘Game Of Love (Over and Over)’.
It’s the perfect album to pop on and relax too, it sweeps over you and is very easy to listen to and get wrapped up in. It may not be an energetic album or excessively commercial but it is unbelievably beautiful and is a perfect chill out album.
Kratz has an obvious love of West Coast and that comes across plainly in his song writing and fans of the genre will revel in Kratz’s loving addition to this quite inoffensive and often overlooked melodic rock sub-genre. If you like Toto, you should definitely check this album out as it’s highly likely ‘Live Your Life’ will appeal to your musical tastes.
Kratz’s vocals actually puts me in mind of Dan Reed and some of his latter solo works are not a million miles away from West Coast – so that ethereal atmospheric tone that Reed has I also hear in Kratz’s vocals.
Kratz has worked with some well-known musicians on this album and given the amount of songs with obvious Toto inspirations it’s no surprise Steve Lukather pops up on ‘This Town Is Lost Without You’ so keep an ear out for his guitar skills on that track! Kratz is a multi-instrumentalist and he plays a good chunk of what you’ll hear and he does so to a really impressive standard.
You don’t hear new West Coast albums very often these days, so when you do you hope for something really good and Michael Kratz has definitely delivered a high-quality West Coast album. If you enjoy the genre you are going to fall head over heels in love with ‘Live Your Life’ which is full of exemplary musicianship and beautiful songs.
Track Listing: We All Live In This Nation / Live Your Life / This Town Is Lost Without You / What Did I? / Never Take Us Alive / Game Of Love (Over and Over) / Lying / Paradise Lost / Shade / Bye Bye / Dying Young / In Between
Album Rating: 8/10
Woody’s Essential Track: Game Of Love (Over and Over)