The Night Flight Orchestra - Aeromantic

The Night Flight Orchestra Aeromantic cover
The Night Flight Orchestra
Nuclear Blast
Combining Aero and Romantic in its title, this fifth album by the now long standing side project of two of the main proponents of Soilwork, Bjorn “Speed” Strid and David Andersson joined by Sharlee D’Angelo on bass and a few other people, including two female backup singers on, making up the numbers to an unusual and impressive octet.
Now… this is a band that pays tribute to everything 80s cheesy pop and hard rock related, mimicking the style remarkably well, until one considers the vocals. Strid’s clean vocals are nothing to write home about, so the two backup singers make up for the lack of higher range and finesse, by providing almost consistently harmony vocals.
Also their success feels largely artificial. Did anyone give two shits about the band’s first two albums on Coroner records? No, I couldn’t say so.
Now every journalist and their mother invites you to live a little and dance. You know… I don’t need sub-par copies of 80s songs to “dance to” if I get in that mood, I’ll go full on Travolta even. I don’t need a flight themed party band, with an overweight guy in a leisure suit to remind me.
What I will give to “Aeromantic” is that it probably contains some of the better singles the band has come up with so far (due to no small part to them paying tribute to other bands), but it does run out of that short of fodder, early on.
“Servants of The Air” feels like a poppy take on Pretty Maids, almost ripping of “Future World”’s riff and structure/build, it does have a somewhat different bridge/chorus, which is okay, but doesn’t soon particularly original.
“Divinyls” owes its name and a beat to that interesting Aussie band, again sounding like the guys almost wrote new lyrics over a sped up old song. I have leads to many parts, but one and when all is said and done its lead and melody, sell it.
The over dramatic “If Tonight is Our Only Chance to Dance” sounds like the bastard love child of Tears For Fears and A-ha. An epic pop romp and probably the song that I liked the most.
“This Boy’s Last Summer” is more bridge than chorus and is the first, but not last song that really fails to hit the mark.
“Curves”, which has received some acclaim, by your usual lamebrains, is a laid back and supposedly sexy jam, which sounds like the worst song Duran Duran never wrote, because they realized it was kinda crap. I did enjoy its noodle y solo however.
“Transmission” is order of times, better with its chorus, especially part disco, part new romantic, doing the heavy lifting.
The title track begins with some wildly panning keyboards lead and drops a sexy beat and while it sort of works; it has wonky vocals and a chorus that just drops the ball, despite the next verse being pretty passionately delivered.
“Golden Swansdown” has a weird title and a chorus that resolves rather unexpectedly a tension, it never quite managed to build. It also feels to fluctuate between a couples of genres, never settling for one. Odd. But while it has some redeeming features, it does not go down smoothly, other than a solo I sort of didn’t object to.
“Taurus” was chosen as a single and was given and odd AF video, but its astrological shenanigans and non-existent chorus don’t help it at all.
“Carmencita Seven” has lot of guitars, backed by keys galore, but it’s too long and its dime a dozen chorus melodies don’t manage to differentiate it. It’s the equivalent of a Mexican soap. It’s dramatic, but it’s not a great drama. I’ll give it to Speed however, that he really feels some of this shit and really belts it out, no matter how cheezy or mediocre it might be.
“Sister Mercurial” feels like someone stole lyrics intended for Ghost and sung a mediocre pop melody over it all… it’s not terrible, but it’s rather forgettable.
“Dead of Winter” closes the album. It begins with a pulsar like keyboard line, evolving to a reasonably passionate pop/rock song that however and despite the passionate singing, is let down by the chorus, not being all that great, with a bridge probably acting as hook instead.
With three or so songs registering as proper memorable hits, this is a rather dull album where the exaggerated form doesn’t even manage to win over matter…
While several other bands serve up melodic rock in a much less superficial way, I don’t think that I could find myself really routing for these guys or even find myself “dancing” to their “re-HEAT-ed” melodies. I’d go for actually Top 40 or pure pop from any era and not someone’s slightly campy approximation of hits from their youth with a new lick of paint. Sorry… not sorry!