Bohemian Kingdom

01. I'm Alive
02. I Feel Divine
03. Don't Go Now
04. Strong Enough
05. Mary-Ann
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

Alec Mendonça (Bass & Vocals)
Philip Bardowell (Vocals)
Jean Barros (Keyboards, piano & vocals)
Juno Moraes (Guitars & mandolin)
Diogo Macedo (Drums)

Force Of nature (2010)

Zé Canuto (Saxophone & Flute)
Matti Alfonzetti (Backing vocals)
Andy Loos (Bass)
Lars Chriss (Drums)
Mike Wallace (Backing vocals)
Church Choir of Mission Viejo - California

Lars Chriss (Producer, mix & master)

Released 2013-03-22
Reviewed 2013-03-12

escape music

N.O.W. begins the album by stating that they are alive, but I'm not sure that they're actually talking about them selves when they say so but about the west coast rock that probably haven't been this attendant since the 80's.

N.O.W. is a project composed by the Brasilian equivalent to Steve Harris, bassist Alec Mendonça and this is the second album that's released. Last time was three years ago when Mendonça and his team released 'Force of Nature', but it's 'Bohemian Kingdom' that really sets this project to life for real and it's with a clear step towards the west coast rock that they're doing it. I actually think they're doing a good job finding that sound of that genre that was so popular in the 80's and even though the album isn't as much west coast as the first song overall it still has a few really clear cut tracks from that genre. It's very apparent in tracks like Mary-Ann, where the band also brings out the saxomophone and it's really one of those classic west coast ballads that isn't really a ballad while you still consider it one - like Roseanna by Toto or Suzanne by Journey (it even has a womans name like these tracks). I also have to say that the saxophones they present about half way in to the track are really enjoyable!

The saxomophone returns already in the next song, which is called Tonight Is The Night and this is probably the best non-ballad song on the album. Then comes the title track as number seven and it opens, quite unusual for this kind of music, with a sampling from a German politician that has made a huge impact on the world. However, the song itself is no killer in my opinion. Leons Going Soft is another ballad but a completely different kind of ballad than Mary-Ann and it kind of grows in both tempo and heaviness as the song gets closer to the end. The album then closes with Cassies Dream and No One Can Feel It's Over where the first is a kind of floating track and the second more of a Stairway To Heaven celebration as it reminds a lot of the Led Zeppelin classic.

On the production side I think there's more to ask for from this album. It's not crap but neither very good but it takes away a bit of the edge from the music not to have a better sound. The band themselves are doing a good job on both the instrumental and vocal side but neither them are convincing - it's like with the production, good but nothing overwhelming or sensational. It's an album that does a lot, and much of it well, but never really shining and proving itself. It's not boring, just a bit shy - kind of like a good hot girl that's too shy to highlight herself and don't realise how pretty she would look if she only had a different hair-cut and another set of clothes. For 'Bohemian Kingdom' it wouldn't do much good with a new set of clothes and a time at the hair stylist but if they dressed up the music instead with a more powerful production and styled their music with some more saxophones it would do a lot. In the current shape and form we do get some saxomophones, but not really enough of it and they could have added some string, choirs and the whole orchestra thing - at least in one song (or two). Then I'm sure this shy, insecure girl would really blossom in to a real hottie!

The west coast-feel, the AOR-touch and the adult rock-style that N.O.W. plays works excellent for me, but they lack something in the music that really makes them stand out enough to be noticed. They're good at what they do, but kind of like a nice store on a city street you don't really go inside if you don't get a reason to do so. They have all the things that everyone wants in that store but they just don't give us the reason to enter it. Nothing spectacular in the window, no one calling for your attention - it's just there. And it's a shame because if you decide to enter, if you give it a chance I'm sure you'll find plenty of reasons to return. But they do need to sort of how they present themselves . Get a little more shouty, confident and striking because 'Bohemian Kingdom' have what it takes and I just think it's a shame because in it's current form it won't get the regular visits it deserves. Still a good album, but it could have been so much better!



Label: Escape Music/Connecting Music
Three similar bands: Toto/Journey/Foreigner
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

läs på svenska