What’s more to say about The Night Flight Orchestra that I haven’t already said in my earlier (three) reviews of this band’s records? I really can’t think of anything. The story of the band is there, the introduction of the band members and where they come from is there. But for all of those who have followed my reviews throughout the years probably knows that I’m a huge fan of this band which makes it harder and harder to review their music every time they release something new. At least it feels that way. My expectations grow bigger and bigger with every album and since this lot refuse to write anything that’s remotely close to bad, I now expect brilliance from them every time. Maybe that’s not fair because the fact is, for every astounding record released they’re one step closer to the big failure because frankly, it’s more or less impossible to keep up the standard that these boys have been doing forever.
Opener and first single “This Time” starts out with a somewhat spacey intro and at first it reminds me a bit of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” but it soon takes a life on its own. It’s an uptempo Hard Rock and the Deep Purple influence remains throughout the song but it’s given a Melodic Rock twist as well. The NFO sound is, of course, on top of the song all the way which means that it swings and contains a whole bunch of hooks. The album couldn’t have opened in a better way – what a killer! Second single “Turn To Miami” is an upbeat swinger that mixes AOR, Pop, Rock and even a chunk of 70’s sounding dance music – this tune could fill any dance floor anywhere. This is a case of pure brilliance, folks. “Paralyzed” kicks off with a funky groove and the Pop sound brings Alice Cooper’s late 70’s/early 80’s to mind and it even contains a disco vibe. The super-catchy chorus screams hit a long way and this is without a doubt single-material.
The title track kicks off with a piano riff before the swing begins for real. This tune sounds like it could have been produced by Vini Poncia, think Kiss around Dynasty (1979) or Unmasked (1980) but with a more AOR-ish vibe in the refrain – and we also get a synth solo treat. Does the song stick then? Well, it just don’t get catchier than this – bloody marvelous! “Moments Of Thunder” brings on a late 70’s/early 80’s AOR style with a bit of Pomp thrown in for good measure – think Styx, Toto, City Boy and the likes. It’s actually a pretty heavy and punchy tune but it’s also quite slick and smooth. Brilliant melodies and an amazing chorus helps to make the tune fantastic! “Speedwagon” is a riff-happy rocker with a stomping groove. The tune goes into Classic Rock territory even though the refrain mixes AOR and Arena Rock of the 80’s. Still, the 70’s Rock influences lies all over the tune – fantastic!
“Lovers In The Rain” is an uptempo Pop / AOR tune which gives a very pink n’ fluffy atmosphere which makes it almost on the saccharine side of Rock music. The whole arrangement is amazing and melodies feels like a silk blanket on my eardrums – and the main melody and chorus sticks like super-glue – so awesome! “Can’t Be That Bad” is an upbeat and quite ballsy tune that mixes Melodic Rock, AOR and Stadium Rock with a thrilling groove. This tune is the late 80’s revisited and the refrain hits the spot right away. This awesome pearl of a song must be a single at some point! “Pretty Thing Closing In” is a 70’s sounding pop-rocker with a disco beat and sound that brings the soundtrack to old TV-series like “Kojak” or “Barretta” to mind. Even though it’s mid-paced and a bit on the dark side in sound, the tune is brilliantly groovy and catchy – and very distinct and direct. Gotta love it!
“Barcelona” is a bouncy stomper 70’s style where Classic Rock meets AOR and sports an infectious groove. The distinct backing vocals makes a wall of voices which brings on a grandiose vibe and the chorus is so effective and sticks like glue after one listen. Brilliant! “Winged And Serpentine” comes with a huge Arena Rock groove, bouncy and punchy but with a smooth melody and shitloads of hooks everywhere. On top of the big guitars lies piano and vocals and a main melody that just won’t leave my head once it’s there. The amazing chorus also screams HIT! and it just don’t catchier than this. Another single. Closing track “The Last Of The Independent Romantics” is a 9-minute epic track that starts out in a Pop/West Coast way that’s reminiscent of Rick Springfield or Richard Marx – very smooth and silky. Then it takes a step into Classic Rock and holds a good beat and crunchy guitars. There’s also a big chunk of early 80’s AOR which brings stuff like City Boy and Streets to mind and for good measure, a bit of Pomp is brought in. A little set of acoustic guitars ends the tune. The 9 minutes does not feel like 9 minutes at all. What a way to end a record like this.
If you have read this long then you probably know what I will write next. Kind of. Yes, folks TNFO have once again created a masterpiece and I hold this album their best since the brilliant debut. I do love Skyline Whispers (2015) and Amber Galactic (2017) but after this KO of an album, they end up somewhat in the shadows of this killer. I mean, everything here is just kicking – the songs, arrangements, production and the musicians’ performances are just bloody amazing and quality is ridiculously high. Also, it must be said that TNFO has got a sound of their own because no one else really sounds like them, an accomplishment in this day and age. Looking back on my reviews of this band, I gave the debut 9/10 when it came out but it has grown to a 10 throughout years and the 10/10’s I gave the two follow-ups doesn’t really stand today, but they sure are nines. To give this album anything else than the full monty is impossible because there’s nothing to complain about here and to pick a favorite song is impossible. Album of the year? I really can’t think of any other that can match it.
More Night Flight Orchestra reviews:
1. This Time
2. Turn To Miami
4. Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough
5. Moments Of Thunder
7. Lovers In The Rain
8. Can’t Be That Bad
9. Pretty Thing Closing In
11. Winged And Serpentine
12. The Last Of The Independent Romantics