Frontiers Records (Release Date 03.13)
In 2010, one of the year’s most pleasant surprises came from Brazil, hardly a rock n roll hotbed. The brainchild of bassist and songwriter Alec Mendocna, N.O.W. provided a thoughtful and at times original twist on classic melodic rock, with the icing on the cake guest vocals from one of the most respected singers in the genre, Unruly Child’s Phillip Bardowell.
I was delighted that far from a one off, Mendonca is back with another release and with Bardowell again gracing the album with his presence alongside homegrown musicians.
The sound is slightly more polished and arguably less adventurous and more mainstream than on the debut, although there are still the odd more progressive moments like the title track with some very neo classical guitar flourishes from Juno Moraes.
I’ m Alive starts the album in stirring fashion, with some similarities to The Sign’s song of the same name, while the Foreigner comparisons are never far away, unsurprisingly as Bardowell is perhaps the closest the current, melodic rock scene has to a prime time Lou Gramm. Strong Enough is a ballad dripping with emotion, with a Giant feel to it as well, and Mary-Ann comes over as a variant on Luanne from ‘4’.
Tonight is the Night has an equally eighties theme with some cool sax playing, and the goodies continue to the end with the big AOR hooks of Cassie’s Dream and a haunting No One Can Feels Its Over, dedicated to a friend who died too young.
As with the first album, Mendonca has also made a valiant attempt given English is not his first language to steer away from obvious lyrical themes. It would be great to see this album gain further exposure as the man is clearly a major talent. ****
Review by Andy Nathan
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