Wang Chung Reactivate With Orchestra

August Day ‎| UK | CD5 | ADAY042 | 2019

Wang Chung: Dance Hall Days [Orchestral] UK CD5 [2019]

  1. Dance Hall Days [Orchestral Version] 4:24
  2. Dance Hall Days [Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca Vocal Remix] 5:29
  3. Dance Hall Days [Kim & Buran Disco Mix] 6:15
  4. Dance Hall Days [Psychmagik Remix] 4:04
  5. Dance Hall Days [Orcapella] 4:06

It used to be that merging pop bands with orchestras resulted in kitsch-bombs like “Days Of Future Passed” by Moody Blues, but the best brains behind the more-influential-than-we-knew Visage Orchestral album have obviously sensed a trend. They also produced an orchestral album with A Flock Of Seagulls last year, and now August Day records has picked another UK New Wave band with a much higher profile Stateside than in the UK to get the nod.

Wang Chung have been in various states of activity from 1997 onward. They actually produced a [great] album called “Tazer Up,” in 2012 that has been DL only, so it has been lower of profile. They have toured both with and without core members Jack Hues or Nick Feldman, depending on either’s availability and inclination. When Hues was not there, Gareth Moulton of Cutting Crew has taken the lead vocal spot in those cases. Hues has had a parallel career with his own prog/jazz band, The Quartet. So they have been keeping busy but not so busy of late as when the band were swept away to join the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in the creation of their upcoming album, “Orchesography.”

As usual, John Bryan and Sare Havlicek have been mixing and producing the sessions with the orchestra. With Hues having a classical musical education, his abilities were certainly up to the challenges of arranging the material for the new cost of sonic paint and he joined the production team with their usual arranger, Pete Whitfield in the writing for the orchestra. The album will be released on May 10th, but the lead single, a revisit of “Dance Hall Days” [but not “Dance Hall Days Revisited!”] has been out for almost a month.

The single is available in DL and CD5! We should all be so lucky, but August Day have never shied away from my preferred single format, so huzzah! The album mix is not a radical shift for the song. The song still has an effulgence that gives it a pass no matter how many times I’ve heard it in public. The Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca Vocal Remix deep-sixed the smooth orchestra for a clattery, synthpop re-build that sounded gimmicky to these ears. Better was the Kim + Buran Disco Mix which imagined the song as a Barry White Love Unlimited Orchestra production. The funky rhythm guitar slinked through it just right. The Psychemagik Remix was another gimmicky dip into the synthpop pool. Better was the Orcapella mix that isolated the reason why we’re all here; the orchestra.

So the single is a go for the Kim + Buran mix and the Orcapella. I might just opt for those two mixes as DLs, but since it’s actually a CD single, I’m inclined to take the “hard format” plunge. If I ever get some pocket change. We’ll find out what the full album holds in just 20 days; probably sooner as the wheels start turning. As for me? I’m laying odds that August Day will be calling The Fixx right about now with an offer they could not refuse.

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18 Responses to Wang Chung Reactivate With Orchestra

  1. negative1ne says:

    Wang Chung has always been a favorite of mine from their first album.
    I never knew about Huang Chung until much later, although that has
    the proto versions of Dance Hall Days and even a different remix on it.

    The original UK remix is different from the US remix, which I didn’t know
    about until much later either. They sound the same, but parts are moved

    Their first album is great, and very consistent. Their further albums
    were ok, but not as great. So they do have a good pool of music to
    pull for their orchestral album.

    The good news is that people that want the originals, should wait for
    the deluxe and expanded remasters that should be coming out later
    this year. They are supposed to be very comprehensive We’ll see,
    I’m looking forward to them.

    And since I’m a sucker for orchestral stuff, I’ll be getting this album of
    course. I’m not sure which group is lined up next for the treatment though.
    I would prefer living in a box and especially go west, as they are more
    suited for that style.



    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – I always thought that Living In A Box was like ABC with Tom Jones singing! I only have Richard Darbyshire singing on B.E.F.’s :Music Of Quality + Distinction Vol. 2.” So you’re an old Huang Chung fan, eh? My friend Mr. Ware is too!


      • Echorich says:

        I’ve never been as hard on Richard Darbyshire as critics and others have been. I think he has a wonderful Blue Eyed Soul Growl ®. Living In A Box were cynically marketed as ABC clones – they obviously fell into line. But Darbyshire, as a solo artist, released some soul and House tracks that I still enjoy. That Synth Soul reading of Early In The Morning for the second volume of B.E.F.’s MOQD is one of the album’s highlight.
        These days he runs a songwriters workshop and has over the last 30+ years contributed songs to albums for artists from The Temptations to Lisa Stansfield to James Last.
        Final note, Living In A Box’s Marcus Vere is a Martin Fry compatriot these days.


  2. Tim says:

    I want Vinny Vero to get the Wang Chung stuff out of his system so he can focus his attention on the more worthy remaster of ABC’s Abracadabra that he has teased. The WC bug never bit me, they are in my canon a one hit wonder for the theme for “To Live & Die in LA.”

    I think you found the one act that couldn’t go the orchestral route. I know we part ways on The Fixx however I honestly can’t imagine their music being set to orchestra, even the tracks I am rather fond of.
    How about an ABC Orchestral album? Have Anne help Martin revisit the material from Up and Abracadabra with an orchestra and give it a proper ABC sheen. There’s some good songs lost in the sound of the day with those albums.


    • Echorich says:

      YES! If there is any ABC album that deserves some reappraisal, it it Abracadabra! It’s the record that frustrated Fry and White and set their demise into action, but also has some real soulful gems.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – Well, if you’re only going to have one Wang Chung song, “To Live And Die In L.A.” is the one!


    • negative1ne says:

      I will have a lot more to say about this when the time comes. Stay tuned.


    • JT says:

      I have known our Monk in real life since 1992, and I am convinced that getting him to budge on the Fixx is futile. :-) No one has ever been so cruel to this underloved band, other than Trouser Press, who loathe them too.


      • postpunkmonk says:

        JT – The stinging irony is that I don’t absolutely hate The Fixx! But your choice of words is revealing. I consider The Fixx not an underloved band in the slightest! I think of them as far more overloved. Think of the similar but far better bands that could not get the time of day in the US because of them sucking down all of the limited amounts of synth-rock oxygen that the USA was willing to grant.


        • Tim says:

          When I get off of my butt and make my modern extension to Bear Records’ “Cold War Platters” I will use Red Skies by the Fixx and be absolutely unrepentant about it.


  3. Echorich says:

    Well now, THAT is how you follow up Visage! Jack Hues has worked well with Messers Bryan and Havlicek to handle Dance Hall Days with care. There’s a strength explored in the Orchestral version which I never really noticed in the original. I was nonplused by the AFOS Orchestral release, but this sounds like it will be everything it could be.


  4. Mr. Ware says:

    I’ve got my hard copy of the single on order. I’ve been a huge fan and collector for decades, so suffice it to say no one is more primed for the pending back catalog reissues than me. I spent some time with the band when they played at Epcot last month and we discussed the “Orcheseography” project at length. They’ve made some interesting song choices so this will be the first release in what will be a very busy year for Wang Chung.


  5. JT says:

    Wait, the Moody Blues + orchestra is kitsch, but A Flock of frickin’ Seagulls + orchestra isn’t?

    Clarify or defend that position, mein freund!
    (I would have expected you to a least name-dropped the OMD + orchestra stuff…!).


    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – Just how long has it been since you’ve heard “Days Of Future Passed?”

      Exhibit One – “I Ran [So Far Away]”

      I walked along the avenue
      I never thought I’d meet a girl like you
      Meet a girl like you
      With auburn hair and tawny eyes
      The kind of eyes that hypnotize me through
      Hypnotize me through

      And I ran, I ran so far away
      I just ran, I ran all night and day
      Couldn’t get away

      A cloud appears above your head
      A beam of light comes shining down on you
      Shining down on you
      The cloud is moving nearer still
      Aurora borealis comes in view
      Aurora comes in view – Mike Score

      Exhibit Two – “The Day Begins”

      Cold hearted orb that rules the night
      Removes the colours from our sight
      Red is grey and yellow – white
      But we decide which is right
      And which is an illusion
      Pinprick holes in a colourless sky,
      Let insipid figures of light pass by
      The mighty light of ten thousand suns
      Challenges infinity and is soon gone
      Night time, to some a brief interlude
      To others the fear of solitude
      Brave Helios wake up your steeds
      Bring the warmth the countryside needs – Justin Hayward

      I rest my case. The AFOS song may be facile, but truly viable kitsch needs the level of pretension that The Moody Blues bring to the table! Plus – Paul Reynolds!

      As for OMD, it’s true that they performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as early as 2009; thus beating all of their peers to the well.

      But they hardly were a flashpoint for this sort of thing. It took six years for Visage to follow suit. I don’t know if Bryan and Havlicek were influenced by that move or not, but they have been the nexus of this New Wave/Orchestra trend via the August Day label. They’ve become the go-to for this sort of thing now having roped in Rick Springfield from outside of the New Wave ghetto. I also count Midge Ure in there since he was very obviously influenced by the Visage album! I guess he thought “let’s do this with a real singer.”


  6. The orchestral version brings out some undercurrents that nicely supplement the song, giving a fresh sound. I concur with the Monk about the Kim & Buran (Buran?) disco mix — very faithful the original late’s 70s version of the format, but they’ve have to drop Jack three octaves to make it really sound like Love Unlimited! Ha!


  7. negative1ne says:

    The Boxset can be ordered now. Will be getting it shortly. Also ‘Everybody have fun tonight’ should be the new single. (I can’t stand that song).

    Wang Chung – Orchesography – Limited Edition 4 x CD Box Set – 2 x CD Singles & Band Signed Postcard
    Wang Chung return with a brand new album. This limited edition, special box set consists of 1) The main ‘Orchesography’ CD album (newly recorded versions of their chart topping hits augmented with an Orchestra) 2) Vocal & Orchestra Only CD, 3) Orchestra Only versions CD, 4) A set of brand new Remixes. 5) CD Single of Dance Hall Days featuring 5 tracks. 6) CD single of Everybody Have Fun Tonight featuring 8 new tracks. Also included is a postcard personally signed by Jack and Nick.



    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – Yeah, I saw that it got the mention a few weeks ago since my friend Mr. Ware is all over that WC action. I’d love the box but the money is simply not there right now. If I could order it 3 months down the line that would be better but who knows if that will be possible.


  8. Tim says:

    Pass on the Wang Chung Orchestrated. This is really reaching deep into the market – Sophie Ellis-Bextor did one this spring! Although at least in her case dance/disco marries with strings a bit more naturally than I Ran.


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