Upon their inception, The Night Flight Orchestra enjoyed a leg up in reputation from their members’ well-known main projects – Soilwork of vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid and guitarist David Andersson, and Arch Enemy of bassist Sharlee D’Angelo as the most notable parts. However, when 2012’s debut Internal Affairs launched, there needn’t have been a boost from famous members, such was the quality of the classic rock on offer – this band were always destined to find renown. A busy 8 years of writing has followed for the group, seeing them release three albums between now and then, with the forthcoming fifth, Aeromantic, launching later this week.
Aeromantic is branded as an “Airborne soap opera” (per the band’s own press release) and wastes no time in diving headfirst into its theme with album opener “Servants Of The Air.” Clocking in at nearly six-and-a-half minutes, it serves musically as an almost gentle, more progressive and contemplative opening before the infectious pop chorus to be found in lead single “Divinyls.” It showcases the trademark of The Night Flight Orchestra’s sound perfectly; sweet hooks so catchy they should be illegal, sung flawlessly by Strid’s syrupy-smooth vocals.
First single “Divinyls” perfectly demonstrates The Night Flight Orchestra’s aptitude for writing the catchiest melodies:
Ballad “Golden Swansdown” is a change of pace in the middle of the album and marks a genuine fist-clenching power ballad the likes of which The Night Flight Orchestra’s original inspirations from the ‘70s and ‘80s would be proud of; with the backing vocals from “The Airline Annas” (Anna-Mia Bonde and Anna Brygård) and emotive guitar solo towards the back end of the track being some of the record’s standout moments.
There are times when the music strays more towards the power pop genre and it’s the lead work from Andersson, along with his partner on guitar, Sebastian Forslund, that keeps the tracks more rooted in rock – although the confidence to make these forays across the full spectrum of the genre is one of the points of appeal for the band; despite their blatant nostalgic influences, everything feels dynamic and fresh. Some of the influences drawn upon are more overt; such as the extremely Abba-esque intro to ”This Boy’s Last Summer,” or the overarching feeling of a Billy Joel influence in ”Curves,” but it’s also a general mood to the album that places its character in the period in which it does so well to emulate.
The Night Flight Orchestra give the feeling that they should be a guilty pleasure such is the undeniable level of cheese and nostalgia to their music. But, when it’s done as well as this, no one should feel guilty for listening to such a fantastic band. Aeromantic shows that even when using past musical styles for inspiration there’s something fresh and vital to be made, and brings another collection of 13 irresistibly catchy classic rock anthems to their already burgeoning back catalogue. Anyone with a passing fondness for rock or metal since the 1970s should check this out; it feels nigh-on impossible to dislike.
The recently released video for “Transmissions” is an 80’s extravaganza:
Aeromantic Track Listing:
01. Servants of the Air
03. If Tonight is our Only Chance
04. This Boy’s Last Summer
08. Golden Swansdown
10. Carmencita Seven
11. Sister Mercurial
12. Dead of Winter
13. City Lights and Moonbeams
Run Time: 58:58
Release Date: February 28, 2020
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records