Thursday, November 27, 2014

NEONFLY - 'Strangers In Paradise'


LABEL: Inner Wound

REVIEW BY: Alan Holloway

UK noise makers Neonfly have been beavering away at their second album for a while now, and to be honest expectations weren’t amazingly high, although their debut album was a solid piece of work. Well, my own expectations have been blown right out of the water by ‘Strangers In Paradise’, an album that sees Neonfly gain a few rungs on the rock ladder of success.

The most fun thing about this album is the way it continually defies attempts to slot it into a comfy pigeonhole. \Opener ‘Whispered Dreams’ is a gloriously catchy mix of power metal and melodic rock with sumptuous vocals and harmony. The vocal mix is something that continuously lifts the album throughout, with singer Willy Norton possessing one of those high register voices that has poise and power in equal measure. The thing is, Neonfly aren’t a power metal band, even though they sometimes to a good impression. What Neonfly are is a power metal prog AOR melodic hard rock band. You know, obviously…

The Progness comes in all over the place, with the band able to slip in a bit of proggy introspection into songs under 4 minutes long, which is a nice touch. There’s only one ‘epic’, the six and a half minute ‘Chasing The Night’, a pretty straightforward rock track with a break in the middle for atmosphere. After all that fun, the album closes with one of the most beautiful tracks of the year, ‘Falling Star’ – something that TNT would have done almost as well back in the good old days. There’s also a neat instrumental track in here (‘Aztec Gold’), where guitarist Frederick Thunder gets to show off his not inconsiderable chops. All in all, a damned good mix of style and substance.

‘Strangers In paradise’ has come right out of left field, and will surprise and delight a lot of people who never even had Neonfly on their radar. A consummate rock album for the modern era, it encompasses just about everything we like about this genre called ‘rock’. Personally, I would have preferred a few more pacy songs like the opener, but this still stands as a first class album by a band who are just about to make a big splash in our small pond. 

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