N.O.W – Bohemian Kingdom (2013)
Three years ago, N.O.W, the band assembled by talented Brazilian-born musician Alec Mendonca delighted us with its Foreigner, Boston and Journey influenced debut.
Their second installment “Bohemian Kingdom” released by Escape Records today, continues delivering hooky tunes firmly rooted in classic AOR Melodic Hard Rock, this time a little more edge.
Again with incredible singer Philip Bardowell (Unruly Child, Magdalen, Places Of Power) at the mic, “Bohemian Kingdom” welcomes two new musicians to the core band: guitar player Juno Moraes and drummer Diogo Macedo.
The album is plenty of enjoyable melodic lines with efficient refrains and smart hooks on soaring AOR numbers like “Don’t Go Now” or “Cassie’s Dream”. There’s even good sax flair in “Mary-Ann” and the lovable “Tonight is the Night”, with a timbre akin to Quarterflash’s ‘Harden My Heart’.
As said, some songs like title track “Bohemian Kingdom”, “I Feel Divine” or “I’m Alive” have a heavier edge via stronger guitar riffs, balancing the recording with a more modern Melodic Hard Rock feel.
“Don’t Go Now” is pure Melodic Rock, a midtempo with acoustics mixed in the background where Bardowell rips his throat in the magnificent chorus recalling the great Lou Gramm. A highlight.
“Leon’s Going Soft” is another great one, starting with a naked piano, some strings and the vocals drawing a beautiful picture. It’s a high class AOR – Melodic Rock tune played with finesse and arranged in the old-school way.
“Strong Enough” is the power ballad of the album wrapped with a bluesy melody and where the keyboards are more vintage and the guitars cleaner. The other slow tune “No One Can Feel It’s Over” is a ballad too but this time really relaxed, melancholy, and with emotive lyrics dedicated to a young friend of Mendonca who died prematurely.
“Bohemian Kingdom” packs ten solid, honest, from-the-heart AOR / Melodic Hard Rock tracks. No more needed, this tracklist is just perfect and avoid fillers.
The remarkable aspect about this CD – apart from the fact all the songs are good – it’s the organic production, never sounding programmed or mechanic but earthly as in the good ol’ times. The vocals are shining here and the keyboards provide a fitting background for the guitar to unveil the beautiful harmonies.
01. I’m Alive
02. I Feel Divine
03. Don’t Go Now
04. Strong Enough
06. Tonight Is The Night
07. Bohemian Kingdom
08. Leon’s Going Soft
09. Cassie’s Dream
10. No One Can Feel It’s Over
Philip Bardowell – Vocals
Alec Mendonca – Bass, Vocals
Jean Barros – Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
Juno Moraes – Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin
Diogo Macedo – Drums
Lars Chriss – add. Drums, Producer
Matti Alfonzetti, Philip Bardowell, Alec Mendonca – Backing Vocals
BUY IT !