CRAAFT – Craaft [remastered +8] (2012)
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Not so long ago we reviewed CRAAFT’s 2nd album reissue, now it’s time for their self-titled debut, remastered and with no less than 8 bonus tracks.
Founded by ex- Tokio Klaus Luley and keyboard player Franz Keil around 1983, thier aim was recreate ’80s American Melodic Rock / AOR with German touch.
That’s it: commercial melodic tunes plenty of hooky choruses, chugging guitars and lots of keyboards / synths.
“Craaft” was at Bob Dylan’s studio in New York, produced by Peter Hauke (White Lion), with session drummer Sandy Gennaro (Blackjack, Y&T) behind the skins.
The sound is typically mid-eighties, composed & recorded between 1984-85, but the album was released in ’86.
Opener “I Wanna Look In Your Eyes” is the definition of ’80s rockin’ AOR: bombastic drums, synths galore and soaring vocals.
Follower “Breakin’ Walls Ain’t Easy” is Melodic Hard oriented but extremely melodic, same with “Hold Me” although more AOR infused, specially on the killer chorus.
As you suspect with the title, “You’re The Best Thing In My Life” is a heavily orchestrated ballad.
“I Guess You Are the Number One” rocks in a commercial Hard Rock fashion, “Stranger” adds some parping keyboards to the mix, while “Now That You’re Gone” slower the things with an emotional Euro-AOR feeling.
“Wasted Years” has a melodic line similar to Foreigner and on last track “Cool Town Lovers” Craaft goes a bit more stomping hard rock with strong riffs reminding Swedes’ Glory.
The bonus tracks are the pre-production demos tracked-down when Craaft formed. Although most of them were recorded on an 8 track Fostex tape machine, the sound is quite good.
When the band get signed by CBS, they transferred the recordings to a 24 track tape, added some more stuff and re-recorded the vocals.
Some of these songs ended in the debut album, but here are in their original form with different arrangements and lyrics, later polished by Tony Carey. Because of this, some demos still feature some ‘working texts’ by Klaus Luley.
For a novel band, “Craaft” was a successful album in Europe, presented live all over the continent as a support act with Queen.
Their second album ‘Second Honeymoon’ is superior in production and songwriting, but Craaft’s debut has all the magic of the glorious mid-eighties AOR / Melodic Rock sounds.
All is here; sharp guitars, sugary harmonies, lashings of keyboards and a general sense of the bombastic overblown.
A must have for classic ’80s rockin’ AOR aficionados.
01 – I Wanna Look In Your Eyes
02 – Breakin’ Walls Ain’t Easy
03 – Hold Me
04 – You’re the Best Thing In My Life
05 – I Guess You Are The Number One
06 – Stranger
07 – Don’t Wanna Wait No More
08 – Now That You’re Gone
09 – Wasted Years
10 – Cool Town Lovers
11 – I’m A Mover
12 – High, High, High
13 – Takin’ My Time
14 – Don’t Wanna Wait [original version]
15 – Babe, You’re the No.1 [original version]
16 – You’re the Best Thing In My Life [original version]
17 – Cool Town Lovers [original version]
18 – Hold Me [original version]
Klaus Luley – vocals, guitar, bass
Franz Keil – keyboards, backing vocals
Reinhard Besser – guitars, bass, backing vocals
Sandy Gennaro – drums, percussion
Jurgen Zoller – drums
BUY IT !