Album Review: The Night Flight Orchestra - Aeromantic

26 February 2020 | 12:52 pm | Brendan Crabb

"'Aeromantic' reinforces they aren't a jokey pastiche."

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The Night Flight Orchestra began life as very much a side project – an avenue for members of Swedish metallers Soilwork and Arch Enemy to indulge their passion for classic AOR, from Boston to Journey and Foreigner.

But since signing to Nuclear Blast a few albums back, the project's become a viable entity of its own, occupying increasingly more of its members' time. They've found a niche, too – becoming the go-to act for metal devotees who never knew they had a hankering for synth-heavy classic rock. But as Aeromantic reinforces, they aren't a jokey pastiche (despite the odd nudge-and-wink to the style's tropes) or merely a gateway act.

Given their genuine fandom and understanding of AOR, hooks so catchy they’ll cause an outbreak remain a cornerstone. Divinyls and If Tonight Is Our Only Chance are both winners on this front. Whether melancholic or glistening with uplifting melodies, it's nonetheless infectiously fun. Aside from the more rock-oriented material, sultry soul grooves (Curves), shameless pop elements and power ballads, like lighter-waving Golden Swansdown, infuse sufficient variety to sustain the hour-long running time. Bjorn '"Speed" Strid, among metal's most versatile voices, sounds like he's having an absolute ball belting out these songs, elevating the already infectious title track and Transmissions, which somehow gels a disco backbeat and violin solo.

There exists an alternate universe, whereby The Night Flight Orchestra rule the airwaves and make bucketloads of cash scoring retro-themed programs à la Stranger Things. Until that becomes reality, you can just enjoy this record.