A fastidious throwback to an oft-scorned era

Just over a year after their last mission, The Night Flight Orchestra have taken off on another adventure into retro AOR, with all the massive hooks, huge choruses and stupendous production that come along with it.

Four albums in and it could be that this band has only just hit their stride when it comes to this arena rock caper as they hurtle ever closer to their perfect ideal of melodic hard rock.

The first track “This Time” swoops in like a Joe Lynn Turner-era Rainbow number complete with electric piano/lead guitar trade-offs and from there the scene is set for twelve songs of sheer melodic rock pomp. Layers of shimmering keyboards fuel syrupy melodies overlaid with lush guitar solos and the soaring, harmonious voice of Bjorn Strid who uses enough of his lower register to add further power and gravitas to his vocals.

Spacey synths wash over “Turn to Miami” and the jangly guitar adds a further pop element to the bouncy “Paralyzed”; the title track surges in on a synthy wave that sounds like Cutting Crew for a few seconds before the heavy pomp drops in and “Moments of Thunder” has another battle between soloing guitars, synths and organ. Every track seems to have almost too much going on, each one borrowing something from one of the arena authorities, whether it’s a Lukather-like guitar solo, Styx-ian keyboard hooks or catchy Journeyesque melodies. This album is virtually a handbook of melodic hard rock.

Once in a while, though, they overplay their hand and let themselves get carried away with the injections of synthy pop. “Barcelona” is so big and bouncy it almost sounds like a Eurovision entry and “Pretty Thing Closing In” veers into the territory of utterly safe modern pop rock acts like Imagine Dragons. A nicely-timed David Andersson guitar riff or the rumbling drums of Jonas Kallsback keeps them on the right track, but at times they do fly a little too close to the sun. Still, Sometimes the World… is immensely enjoyable, a fastidious throwback to an oft-scorned era of big-sounding music, always with an idiosyncratic Swedish feel about it.

  1. This Time
  2. Turn to Miami
  3. Paralyzed
  4. Sometimes the World Ain’t Enough
  5. Moments of Thunder
  6. Speedwagon
  7. Lovers in the Rain
  8. Can’t Be That Bad
  9. Pretty Thing Closing In
  10. Barcelona
  11. Winged and Serpentine
  12. The Last of the Independent Romantics