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N.O.W: Bohemian Kingdom

I may have possibly mentioned this before but here goes again; there's far too much stuff out there of a similar ilk. Far too much, to the extent that it's becoming difficult to find the words to accurately describe the differences between the myriad of releases. At the moment my inbox includes the new platters from N.O.W (obviously), Diamond Dawn and Shannon, all of whom play a similar type of melodic rock. I like them all, they're all fairly anachronistic and really don't have much of a place in today's musical landscape but they're pretty good. Does that count for all three reviews?

One of the obvious touchstones for N.O.W is Foreigner and "Strong Enough" would have probably been a contender in the mid-1980s as it is a quality power ballad and vocalist experienced Philip Bardowell gives it his best Lou Gramm/Kelly Hansen. The middle of the album is the strongest part as the excellent "Mary Ann" follows "Strong Enough" and the PR bluff's Boston comparisons actually seem not to be pie-in-the-sky for once. It's also fabulous to see a saxophone make an appearance on that particular song; there can never be enough horns in melodic rock. Generally Escape Music don't release crap and this is another good release from them although I suspect that fans of the melodic rock genre would already be aware of this and be suitably alerted to this fact.

Track Listing:
1. I'm Alive
2. I Feel Divine
3. Dont Go Now
4. Strong Enough
5. Mary Ann
6. Tonight Is the Night
7. Bohemian Kingdom
8. Leon's Going Soft
9. Cassie's Dream
10. No One Can Feel It's Over

Added: April 5th 2013
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Escape Music
Hits: 4323
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

N.O.W: Bohemian Kingdom
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-04-05 11:10:03
My Score:

My esteemed colleague Simon Bray has already suggested above that the type of straight-up AOR come Melodic Rock that Brazilian based N.O.W. are so keen to pursue, really doesn't have much of a place in today's musical landscape. However the very fact that there seems to be so much of this stuff around at the moment does, in my humble opinion, suggest that point to be moot. However what we will completely agree on in the case of this act's second release Bohemian Kingdom, is that it proves that while N.O.W. are extremely adept at this style, in the end much more is needed to stand out from the ever growing crowd (for an example of how it should be done, sample the second offering from W.E.T. - stunning!). Yes the melodies are smooth as silk, the vocals reach for the sky and the choruses have a sack full of hooks. However the mix of Foreigner meets Toto at a Boston convention, while well crafted sits far too close to the middle of the road to truly shine. Bad? Never... Essential? Equally so.

The thing is it isn't as though N.O.W. are going through the motions here, with band leader Alec Mendonca giving Bohemian Kingdom his all. The album positively drips with the emotion, blood sweat and tears needed to make any musical offering convince in the desired manner, in fact, maybe too much. Vocalist Philip Bardowell (Magdalen/Bardowell/Beach Boys) is a master of the mic, his voice being unmistakable as ever and without him this album wouldn't be half as convincing as it is, the keyboard and guitar being safe and expected, while the use, in places, of sax actually feeling a little contrived. As for the clips of Nazi Germany speeches playing over the back of bright acoustic guitar strumming, well honourable though the intentions of the song are, to say it is an odd marriage, is an understatement.

Escape Music have an impressive strike rate and lovers of what this excellent label produce will still find plenty to pique their interest on Bohemian Kingdom. However is it a release to go back to time after time as the years roll by? Well not for me...

N.O.W: Bohemian Kingdom
Posted by Scott Jessup, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-03-01 20:34:52
My Score:

Bohemian Kingdom is a melodic rock album from a band called N.O.W., and their second release following the 2010 debut Force Of Nature. Behemian Kingdom is the sort of music release you would expect from such a band with a combination of upbeat tunes and slower ballads.

I have to agree with Simon's sentiments above regarding similar melodic material and it's for that reason that I generally tend to steer well clear of these kind of music releases. Maybe it was the interesting cover art that tweaked my interest in this one. After hearing the songs of Bohemian Kingdom I have to say that this recording from melodic rockers N.O.W. really it isn't that bad after all, and turned out to be one of the better melodic rock albums in recent times.

» Reader Comments:

N.O.W: Bohemian Kingdom
Posted by Kenneth Bowen on 2013-04-06 07:19:21
My Score:

I must agree with the reviewer, this is an album that stands out from the rest of AOR releases nowadays. Actually, I find the W.E.T. album to be a total carbon copy of all the rest in offer and regret having bought it. N.O.W. brings originality to the table and what drew my attention was exactly the diversity of the album, I really can't complain about a sax, because besides the guitar, this is the only other instrument that rocks. I welcome all of N.O.W. diversity, bought their first album, liked the compositions but didn't like the sound, now the sound is great and the compositions even better, the guitarist has great, orginal licks and the keyboards are very well played with great moogy sound. This is a grower and not an instant record, instant records are disposed quickly, here, it's clearly not the case. Because since I bought it I can't take it off my mind. I am very impressed with the lyrics too, thoughful and so well written, take No One Can Feel It's Over for example, totally seventies mood with a riff to die for, I don't see that much musicianship today. So, If the listener wants something that will strike as a great reference for the great bands of the past full of genius hooks and bridges, this is the record for you, because it's not formulaic, it's not control C control V, it's original and unique. Some people can grasp it as soon as they listen to the record, some others don't even bother listening to it twice, what a shame for those, because this is indeed a great album full of identity that stands out from the crowd.

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