The Danish Michael Kratz is back, who thanks to the good success of his debut album Live Your Life, is playing an encore with this album with the unpronounceable title TAFKATNO … and let’s say it right away and get rid of this tooth, but what the @@ does it mean TAFKATNO ???
I spent quite a few nights trying to give a more or less plausible meaning to this absurd name only to discover that it is simply the acronym of “The Album Formerly Known As The Next One” … nothing … Kratz I Love it, even if the blows the merit of the name in this case would be attributed to a certain Jørgen Kleon Jeppesen!
Thus revealed the mystery that kept us awake for nights and nights we can at least say that despite a name like this everything else that Kratz had given us good with his first solo work here is amply confirmed and perhaps even better packaged.
The troop that brought the first album into port remains firmly on the ship and therefore in addition to Kratz we find here his right shoulder Kasper Viinberg (mixing, multi-instrumentalist of the album and co-author of several songs) and behind in the control room our own Burning Minds / Art of Melody Music to which are added a series of high level artists such as Christian Warburg (Paul Young), Bruce Gaitsch (King Of Hearts, Madonna, Peter Cetera, Chicago, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Lionville), Torben Lysholm (Pangea, Mysterell, Acacia Avenue), Davide Gilardino & Luca Carlomagno (Mindfeels) and Janey Clewer (Peter Cetera, Bill Champlin, Michael Bolton, Michael Sembello among others).
Let’s clarify another thing before starting to analyze the songs on the disc, even Kratz’s voice is still there to make a good appearance (and God forbid!). If you have known the first album you know what I mean and if you missed it I will try to explain it to you. That Kratz certainly have a particular voice to say the least, which does not allow half measures, either you love it or you hate it, and I love it thanks to that absolutely characteristic and unique trait of its own in this genre!
… And speaking of notes? Don’t worry here too, if you appreciated the Danish’s first work, feel free to breathe a good sigh of relief because the shots fired by this TAFKATNO aim straight into the same AOR / Westcoast territory from the intimist trait of Live your Life, and indeed, in some respects this TAFTKANO is also better balanced and more consistent in its gait than the debut with a Kratz that offers a cleaner and more homogeneous songwriting, but always strong with splendid and well-kept arrangements as per his habit.
The particular Too Close To The Edge with its nanannananananow introduces us again to the imaginative musical world of Kratz. Stylistic choices that are never banal and of a certain level, attention to detail and quality production raise the bar. There are no pieces that deserve the “skip” in this work but certainly the slower songs of the lot with the splendid and intimate Without your love should be mentioned as highlights, graced by an interlude in pure style of the latest Toto, the other slow Let’s Do Something Good who enjoys an arrangement and an acoustic guitar in the background from goosebumps and finally the grace to the limit of pop of 10 minutes (00:37 – 00:47). Also noteworthy and worthy of a note in itself what I found to be the most radio song of the lot, How Can a Man.
What to say in conclusion, on the second lap Michael Kratz still amazes, and fortunately not only for the absurdity of the name of the album, but above all for the confirmation of a mature artist and a guarantee for those looking for that westcoast soiled with AOR chromed and refined. A beautiful evening album with a glass of wine in front of you, I recommend the good one … and you decide whether alone or in company, this album will be the perfect companion in the first case and a delicate friend in the second! Have a good listening!