The Korgis – Orchestrations (review)

The Korgis – with the Rialto Symphony Orchestra – Orchestrations (Omnivore Recordings)

Strings replace synths, with satisfying results

The Korgis had a worldwide smash in 1980 with the ethereal, synth pop track, “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime.”  That song has continued to be covered from artists like Beck, and Zucchero & Vanessa Carlton.  Orchestrations features, you guessed it, new renditions of 10 Korgis’ songs, set to symphonic arrangements.  

Admittedly, I only knew that one track from the Korgis – yet, after diving in, the rest of the band’s catalog is very solid as well, and deserving of a deeper look.

“Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime” sounds sweeping and grand in this setting – absolutely gorgeous.  There’s even an additional, “lost” second verse.  If you only know the Korgis for their one big hit, you’re in for a treat.  “All the Love in the World” is a tender ballad, while their first UK hit, “If I Had You,” has great harmonies to augment the orchestration.

“Something About the Beatles” deals the death of John Lennon and the indelible mark his band left on us all.  “The Best Thing You Can Do Is Love Someone,” a more recent composition, is a simple prayer for peace during these divisive times.  “Bringing Back the Spirit of Love” is a more upbeat track with a similar message.

If there’s one word to describe this, I’d go with cinematic.  

A note about the vocals – from what I can discern from the liner notes, these are new recordings (sometimes, as in the recent Elvis with the symphony disc, an old vocal was pasted over new orchestrations).  In this case, these are new renditions.  I have to say, if that is true, James Warren sounds absolutely fantastic on vocals.  His soaring voice has lost nothing over the years.

If you’re a fan of Eighties’ synth pop, there’s a lot here to love about Orchestrations.   —Tony Peters

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