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Ascension (A Flock of Seagulls album)

Ascension is the sixth studio album by the band A Flock of Seagulls, and was released on 6 July 2018.[1][2] It is the first album since 1984's The Story of a Young Heart that features all four original members. It contains twelve songs (eleven from the first three albums and one new song) rerecorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The album debuted and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart for the week of 21 July 2018[3] and at #29 on the UK Independent Albums chart for the week of 13 July 2018.[4]

Ascension
FlockofSeagulls Ascension.jpg
Studio album by
Released6 July 2018
Recorded2017-2018
Studio
GenreNew wave, synthpop, orchestral
Length51:50
LabelAugust Day
ProducerJohn Bryan, Sare Havlicek
A Flock of Seagulls chronology
The Light at the End of the World
(1995)
Ascension
(2018)
Singles from Ascension
  1. "Space Age Love Song"
    Released: June 2018
  2. "I Ran (So Far Away)"
    Released: December 2018
  3. "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)"
    Released: June 2019

HistoryEdit

In 2017, Mike Score was approached by John Bryan of August Day Records regarding the creation of an orchestral album. Intrigued, Mike agreed to the possibility. Upon hearing the offer, the rest of the original band–consisting of Frank Maudsley, Paul Reynolds, and Ali Score–jumped on board as well.[5] On 3 May 2018, Ascension was officially announced.[6]

In making the album, Mike preferred to not change the songs too much owing partly to his penchant for not enjoying live performances where bands alter their music. He also felt that this was the easiest and quickest way to work due to time constraints. He stated, "We wanted to make it easy for ourselves and let the record company do the work, because it was really their idea."[5] As the band was not familiar with orchestras, an orchestral arranger was brought in to handle the arrangements.[5]

Although the album was recorded in separate studios, Mike, Frank, and Paul reunited in Liverpool for a day to record the music video for the orchestral version of "Space Age Love Song".[5] Video involving Ali was added into the finished version, which premiered on YouTube 6 June.[7]

A 5-track EP was digitally released 8 June 2018, that features five versions of "Space Age Love Song".[8] On 6 July, the album was released digitally and in select stores, although physical copies were available for purchase online prior to the release date. A limited edition special set was also available, which contained five CD's, four signed postcards, and two stickers. The five CD's are: Ascension, Ascension (Instrumental), Ascension (Orcapella), Aurora Borealis - The Greatest Hits, and an 8-track single of "Space Age Love Song". Aurora Borealis - The Greatest Hits does not contain the orchestra, but instead includes re-recordings of the original tracks from the main album (excluding "Ascension").

On 7 December, "I Ran (So Far Away)" was also released as a single. It includes eight alternate versions of the song along with the orchestral and re-recorded version. On 11 June 2019, the Inflight album was announced. It contains extended and instrumental versions of the tracks featured on Aurora Borealis - The Greatest Hits with the exception of "Telecommunication". "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" was made as a single to be included with the set. The Inflight Tour spanned the UK from 11-19 July; it did not feature the original band members featured on the album.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Cryptic Rock     [9]
Louder Than Warfavourable[10]
Spill Magazine     [11]

The website Cryptic Rock gave Ascension a perfect five-star rating, saying, "it is a grand production that is wonderfully recorded, produced, and mastered" and "retains the magic of the original tunes, but while interjecting new dynamics thanks to The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra". [9] Paul Scott-Bates of Louder Than War stated it is "a good solid album" and had an affinity for "I Ran (So Far Away)", writing that the Prague Philharmonic "adds an air of grandiose...and makes the song a dramatic spectacle. As an opener to the album, it really couldn’t be much better".[10]

Aaron Badgley of Spill Magazine wrote that the band still "play extremely well together and the core unit is as tight as they have ever been" and "the orchestra provides a whole new aspect to these songs".[11]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleLength
1."I Ran (Orchestral Version)"6:22
2."Modern Love Is Automatic (Orchestral Version)"3:39
3."Telecommunication (Orchestral Version)"2:31
4."Space Age Love Song (Orchestral Version)"5:09
5."Ascension"1:12
6."Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) (Orchestral Version)"5:32
7."Nightmares (Orchestral Version)"4:38
8."DNA (Orchestral Version)"2:39
9."Electrics (Orchestral Version)"4:22
10."Transfer Affection (Orchestral Version)"5:42
11."The More You Live, The More You Love (Orchestral Version)"4:28
12."Man Made (Orchestral Version)"5:35
Total length:51:50

ChartsEdit

Chart Peak position
US Classical Albums Chart (Billboard)[3]
8
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[4]
29

PersonnelEdit

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Ascension.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Zupko, Sarah (13 June 2018). "Legendary Synthpoppers A Flock of Seagulls Tell Their History in New Video Interview (premiere)". PopMatters. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Overview: Ascension". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b "A Flock of Seagulls". billboard. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Lynch, Joe (23 May 2018). "A Flock of Seagulls Talk Reunion, Orchestral Album & the Day They Wrote 'I Ran'". Billboard. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  6. ^ Cummings-Grady, Mackenzie (3 May 2018). "A Flock of Seagulls Announces New Album 'Ascension'". Billboard. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  7. ^ "MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of A Flock Of Seagulls' "Space Age Love Song" Video - Magnet Magazine". Magnet Magazine. 6 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  8. ^ Gray, Julia (7 June 2018). "A Flock Of Seagulls' Original Lineup Remade Their Best Song For First Recording In 34 Years". Stereogum. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b "A Flock of Seagulls – Ascension (Album Review)". Cryptic Rock. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b Paul Scott-Bates (6 July 2018). "A Flock Of Seagulls: Ascension – album review". Louder Than War. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  11. ^ a b Aaron Badgley. "Spill Album Review: A Flock of Seagulls With the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra – Ascension". Spill Magazine. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  12. ^ Ascension (liner notes). A Flock of Seagulls. Zomba Music Publishers. 2018. ADAY035.CS1 maint: others (link)