I think we can all agree that when Paul Reynolds left A Flock Of Seagulls following their “Story of A Young Heart” album, that the group lost something they never replaced. His Post-Punk guitar prowess made songs like “Modern Love Is Automatic” into something that can still get the pulse racing 30 [mumble] years later. Well, the original lineup has reformed and they release a new album tomorrow, and synth-loving label August Day has made it happen again. Since August Day worked the Prague Philharmonic action with Visage several years back, they seek to repeat that triumph, this time with A Flock of Seagulls.
A Flock Of Seagulls [With The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra]: Ascension UK CD/DL 
- I Ran [Orchestral Version]
- Modern Love Is Automatic [Orchestral Version]
- Telecommunication [Orchestral Version]
- Space Age Love Song [Orchestral Version]
- Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) [Orchestral Version]
- Nightmares [Orchestral Version]
- DNA [Orchestral Version]
- Electrics [Orchestral Version]
- Transfer Affection [Orchestral Version]
- The More You Live, The More You Love [Orchestral Version]
- Man Made [Orchestral Version]
As we can see, the band have re-recorded eleven of their classic period songs with added orchestral accompaniment. Sharp eyes may have noted that a new song, the title track “Ascension” snuck in there, giving those wanting something completely new a bit of a tease. How does it sound? Well, we can only hear the pre-release single, “Space Age Love Song,” so far, but Reynolds can definitely still cut it. The addition of a full orchestra instead of a monosynth string patch sounded much richer to these ears. I have to admit that I was getting a little thrilled by what I’d heard before it faded just as Mike Score’s vocal came into the mix. The descending french horn line sounded positively regal.
A month ago, August Day released the single and it’s out there on DL as well as deluxe CD formats! Five mixes on the DL and eight on the CD. All of this is well and good, but anyone who has observed the label working that Visage action knows that there will be more to it that this. The label has also prepped a full month five disc, autographed edition of “Ascension” that experience tells us, may be selling for more than its $60 asking price a little while down the road.
A Flock Of Seagulls: Ascension Limited Edition Box [ADAY 040]
- Disc 1: Ascension [orchestral album]
- Disc 2: Ascension [instrumental versions]
- Disc 3: Ascension [orchapella mix]
- Disc 4: Aurora Borealis – The Greatest Hits [re-recorded without orchestra]
- Disc 5: Space Age Love Song CD single
Included are postcards signed by all four members and some stickers. Discs 2-4 are exclusive to the full set, though “Aurora Borealis” will additionally be available as a DL from the August Day website and iTunes as of today. I sampled the “Aurorea Borealis” set on iTunes and it seemed to be pretty similar to the originals without headphones. I certainly wasn’t the biggest AFOS fan after 1982, but I do think that I may want to get the “Ascension” album. I re-purchased the debut album many years ago and was not convinced, but the addition of the orchestra made the song I sampled a definitely richer listening experience. The production by John Bryan and Sare Havlicek rests on their truly spectacular Visage laurels so I’m sure this will do us all favors. Those guys really know how to make fantastic sounding synth rock. If you are of a disposition to revel in the 5xCD boxed set, then it’s just $59.99 from here.
– 30 –