THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA – Skyline Whispers

Night Flight Orchestra - Skyline WhispersCD_638I recently revisited my review of Night Flight Orchestra’s debut album Internal Affairs (2012) and I saw that gave it a 9/10. Say what, now??? I’m not sure what I was thinking or maybe the album has grown on me after I wrote the review, but if there is one album that deserves a 10/10, then it’s that album. I have listened to that record constantly since it came out and I can’t find one second on it that isn’t brilliant – and I still can’t find one person in my circle of music loving friends that don’t like that record. I also saw them live at Sweden Rock Festival last year and they were bloody awesome. A short introduction to the band for you who don’t have the urge to read it here might be in place then. This classic rock band was put together when lead vocalist Björn Strid (Soilwork) and David Andersson (guitar, Mean Streak) was touring together many moons ago and in between gigs they discovered their mutual love for classic rock music from the 70’s. Now, I’m not talking only about the usual suspects like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, no, with these guys, the musical stretch was longer. Add Kiss, Boston, Bruce Springsteen, Journey and even The Temptations to the mix and you’re getting there. With the addition of Sharlee D’Angelo (ex King Diamond, Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars) on bass, drummer Jonas Källsbäck (Mean Streak) and keyboard player Richard Larsson (Von Benzo), the band became a tight unit and with the rest of the guys the project was even more schizophrenic – throw in funk, pop, southern rock and even 70’s disco and the whole thing became even more unpredictable. Just take one look at the guys’ day jobs and it would be easy to guess that a side project would go into the more extreme metal department, but why bother with a side project if you’re gonna play the same music as your day job? When this project first saw the light of the day, no one knew if the album would just be a one-off, a cool side project and no-one even knew if they would be playing live. It would take them a couple of years after the album release to get together for a gig, so the news that this lot hade gone into the studio for a follow-up was fantastic news to these ears. But, the circumstances were a bit different this time. This time, the expectations were high where with the debut they were none at all and this time they were a name and a band and the new album was recorded as such. Personally, I couldn’t wait until first listen and even though it’s always a bit nerve wrecking to dive into a follow-up to an album you love dearly, but I really couldn’t imagine the band that put out such an astonishing debut failing with the second release. But I admit holding my breath for a while…

But I could breathe again right after opener “Sail On”, a rocker that sounds like Deep Purple with a pop groove that gets right inside your skull immediately. The following song, “Living For The Nighttime” makes me even more sure that this album is a winner. It’s a swinging little rock groover with a big chunk of both west coast and pop and the song is fantastic. “Stiletto” is just magnificent with its influence of pop, funk and even 70’s disco over the rock foundation that brings both diversity and shape. It is also so catchier than catchy. They keep both funk and pop for “Lady Jade”, but adds a large dose of Deep Purple around Stormbringer (1974) which will make this tune a live killer in the future without a doubt. “I Ain’t Young, I Ain’t Old” is both AOR and pop and borders to a ballad, but has more tempo. It has a contagious melody which will make this a great single some time. I would release “All The Ladies” – a brilliant rock tune that holds early 70’s Kiss and Alice Cooper together with a lot of 70’s pop poured in the mix – as a single as well because the damn thing is catchy as hell. One of my absolute favourites here is “Spanish Ghosts”. It’s darker and heavier and a bit on the progressive side that rolls on a slower pace with ballad tendencies and a cool keyboard arrangement and some really awesome Spanish guitars – the sky really is the limit for these guys. “Demon Princess” takes yet another turn where they add some symphonic gestures to the melodic groove of this progressive, 70’s based hard rocker – and the result is brilliant. The title track surprises us with being a short instrumental, soft with some jazzy undertones and it works like a charm. “Roads Less Traveled” is a smiler, an uptempo pop rocker with a whole lot of 70’s radio rock on top of it – if this song don’t make you smile you are beyond all help. “The Heather Report” (what a brilliant title!) finishes the CD – if you buy the standard version, that is – and the song starts out as a slow, blusier number, but ends in a more recognizable Night Flight Orchestra way and also holds a break that reminds me of Paul McCartney’s “Live And Let Die”. But you won’t be satisfied with only the standard version, no, you need the digipack version because, see, it contains “Floridian Eyes” and you really do need to own that song. It actually sounds like an outtake from their debut, a big swinging pop song that makes you think of warm summer days, beautiful women and convertible cars in which you drive with the wind running through your hair. It also makes me think of cold beer. The song is fantastic, in case you were wondering.

So, are there any need for worrying for fans of the debut album, then? No, way, I say! Have they managed to better the last album as well? Well, I’m not sure, this album is a bit too new to make that kind of judgement yet, but it is just as good, in my opinion. It might sound funny that this album gets the full bounty when the last one “only” got a 9/10, but as I wrote above, the debut has kept growing on me since I first heard it and it should have gotten the 10/10 rating – it would have had I reviewed it today – or two years ago even. If you liked the debut, then you can buy this unheard without any hesitation at all. There is so much quality within this band it’s jaw dropping. The fact that this band isn’t already huge is both a mystery and a crying shame because they really deserve to be. Also, the members of this band should make it their main priority because Night Flight Orchestra are superior to the members’ first bands. Could this be the album of the year? I dunno, but it is a hot runner-up for the spot and the 10/10 rating is indisputable. Buy now!

Jon Wilmenius (10/10)

Tracklist:

1. Sail On
2. Living For The Nighttime
3. Stiletto
4. Owaranai Palisades
5. Lady Jade
6. I Ain’t Old, I Ain’t Young
7. All The Ladies
8. Spanish Ghosts
9. Demon Princess
10. Skyline Whispers
11. Roads Less Traveled
12. The Heather Reports
13. Floridian Eyes (digipak bonus track)

2 comments on “THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA – Skyline Whispers

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