THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA is one of the hottest AOR/hard rock bands around. Led by singer Björn Strid of melodic death metallers SOILWORK and including various musicians known from their original extreme metal bands, at first TNFO seemed like a joke. But they never sounded like one. It took them two albums to solidify their sound and character; 2015’s ‘’Skyline Whispers’’ was the bold statement that made heads turn. Since then with every release everybody’s talking about them and there seems to be no debate about how good they are at what they do.
So what’s so special about TNFO? Well, for starters they are possibly the only recent band of the 80’s AOR nostalgia wave that incorporates sounds from the whole golden era of AOR, not just the over-polished mid/late 80’s anthemic arena rock stuff, but also stuff from the very roots of the genre in the late 70’s/early 80’s. And that’s so interesting since there was so much going on during this era. TNFO incorporates disco sounds the way KISS did on ‘’Dynasty’’ (remember ‘’I was made for loving you’’? I bet you do!), funky grooves that could make a dead man dance, some TOTO and QUEEN worship, long forgotten west coast melodies and other nostalgic elements that are blended with catchy sing along rock songs. The beautiful arrangements throughout the album carry lots of depth and details, backing vocals, layered harmonies, keys etc. The guys really know what they’re doing. It takes a lot of musicianship, talent and guts to recreate such a style and sound original; TNFO have tons of the above and manage to show us a good time in the process.
The album opener ‘’This time’’ is a strong hard rocker, something that has become a TNFO tradition. From there on it’s AOR all the way, only Strid provides a harder edge here and there whenever he goes for a raspier delivery. Speaking of whom I must specifically point out what a chameleon he proves to be. He can sound like a young Ronnie Atkins (PRETTY MAIDS, such a shame I have to explain who he is) in one songs and then like Kevin Cronin or Paul Stanley on the next. He even mixes it up during the same song. There are definitely lots of standout songs on the album, I’ll name just a few that made a more lasting impression; that would be the aforementioned opener, ‘’Turn to Miami’’ with its summer vibes, the powerful but also disco-like title track, ‘’Lovers in the rain’’ with its mesmerizing melody and another disco rocker, ‘’Barcelona’’ with prominent female backing vocals. I’m still looking for the song with the huge hit-quality like ‘’Stiletto’’ from ‘’Skyline Whispers’’, but maybe that’s just me nagging. It’s a good album nevertheless. And the album gets an impressive finishing touch with ‘’The Last Of The Independent Romantics’’ (what a great and very appropriate song title), which is probably the most ambitious piece of work TNFO have delivered till now, the song lasts more than 9 minutes and strays from their usual upbeat style, Strid sounds raspier and more passionate, the guitars are pomp oriented and the keys get spacey, making it so interesting to listen to.
I still believe their best album is 2015’s ‘’Skyline Whispers’’, but ‘’Sometimes the world ain’t enough’’ is a close contender and continues the tradition of really good albums by TNFO and it’s definitely worth checking out even if you are still not a fan of the genre; those who are into AOR have already got hold of it.