Published on March 22nd, 2020 | by Justin G.
The Night Flight Orchestra: Aeromantic (Nuclear Blast, 2020)
Forget about Doc Brown’s Delorean; you won’t find a better time machine back to the early ’80s than retro rockers The Night Flight Orchestra. The Swedish group, which features members of Soilwork and Arch Enemy, has been on a hot streak, releasing some of the best old school melodic rock albums of the past few years and perfectly channelling that early ’80s radio rock sound.
Their latest album is titled Aeromantic. It’s the band’s fifth album, and it picks up right where 2017’s Amber Galactic and 2018’s Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough left off. Aeromantic is another uterly addictive collection of rock songs that pay tribute to the likes of Toto, Saga, Foreigner, mid-’80s Genesis and April Wine. They blend AOR, pomp and pop perfectly here, and if anything this album is even more ’80s pop-oriented than their previous efforts. Bjorn “Speed” Strid’s vocals take center stage as usual, but Richard Larsson’s keyboards threaten to steal the show on nearly every one of these songs.
Something about The Night Flight Orchestra makes me want to dissect each song on an album and break down similarities to classic acts as well as counterparts on previous albums. I’ll spare you that level of analysis, but I do have to call out some favorites on Aeromantic. After the lengthy, mood-setting “Servants Of The Air,” you get three absolutely perfect, absolutely irresistable melodic rockers in “Divinyls,” “If Tonight Is Our Only Chance” and “This Boy’s Last Summer.” All three have summer rock ‘n roll party written all over them. There’s a smoother, more AOR vibe to songs like “Transmissions,” “Golden Swansdown” and the title track, but they’re no less effective. Throw in the funky groove of “Curves” and the synth-pop “Dead Of Winter” and you’ve got a very satsfying album that’s not just a rehash of what came before.
If you’re already on board with The Night Flight Orchestra, you don’t need me to tell you that Aeromantic is fantastic, and on par with (and potentially better than) Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough. If you haven’t yet checked this band out, but you love the classic ’80s AOR and melodic rock sound, or if you’re a Soilwork fan with a (very) open mind, this album makes the perfect introduction to The Night Flight Orchestra’s sound. It’s also a strong early contender for album of the year.