It's fair to say that A Flock Of Seagulls may be the most successful New Wave band never to have received the acknowledgements they are due. Their synth-heavy, indelibly 80s music found heavy rotation on MTV, thanks to hit single “I Ran,” and their unique visual look and stylish romantic sound has captured an enduring fan-base. Formed in 1980 by Mike Score (lead vocals, keyboards), brother Ali Score (drums) and Frank Maudsley (bass), the group possessed a potent ingredient which many of their peers did not, in the form of guitarist Paul Reynolds, whose edgy yet highly melodic playing remains a pleasure to hear.

Few groups who endure so long manage to retain a stable line-up. A Flock Of Seagulls have employed a changing roster over the years, but 2018s album Ascension saw the original four members reunite to re-record their past music (plus one new track) in collaboration with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. String Theory is a direct continuation of that project, featuring eleven past tracks re-imagined, once again with that same orchestra.

The first thing you will notice is just how well put together this album is. It's clear that a lot of heart and thought has gone into these recordings. The orchestral parts merge wonderfully with the band, creating a whole which adds new life to the songs. “Say You Love Me,” from 1995s The Light At The End Of The World, is a good case in point. It retains the easy charm and lightness of touch as the original, married now to undulating strings, which lift and swell, adding plenty of colour but never threatening to overwhelm. Indeed, the whole set glows. A Flock Of Seagulls always managed to sound warmer than many of their contemporaries. The orchestral accompaniment amplifies that warmth in a wholly pleasing manner.

The Story Of A Young Heart” (from their 1984 album of the same name) captures the anthemic feel of the original while adding a new, softer edge. “Never Again (The Dancer),” (from that same set) with it's lilting melody, is remarkably cohesive, splashing bass and dramatic drumming blending organically with the strings. “As with all the cuts here, “Living In Heaven,” a racing, twisting, number, does not sacrifice the essential Seagulls' sound in the slightest. Closer “Rainbow” makes for a fine ending, with bright staccato adornments and a lush, rolling soundscape.

Orchestral re-workings are always going to divide opinion, but fans can rest assured this is no mere cash-in. String Theory continues the fine work begun with Ascension, and will sure to please many. For those not familiar with the Seagulls' sound, this might be the perfect place to start.