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Enola Gay, it shouldn't ever have to end this way OMD
(Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark)
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"Synth-pop reached its highest point in the 80s with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the Liverpool duo of Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey. Merging the electro-pop of Ultravox and the "robot-pop" of Kraftwerk with Bowie and Roxy Music glam, OMD produced a sparkling array of danceable synth-pop that owed as much to the craftsmanship of Lennon/McCartney songwriting as to New Romantic style and sensibility. "

"After releasing 'Electricity' in 1979, OMD quickly became one of the more influential electro-pop bands to emerge from England. While the premise of a singing synthesizer duo may now be a fairly conventional concept, Andy McClusky and Paul Humphreys had very few role models when they first developed their unusual style. (...) From the early sounds of 'Enola Gay' to radio classics like 'Joan of Arc' and 'Souvenir,' OMD's polished, dramatic readings influenced everyone from Depeche Mode to the Pet Shop Boys."
-- Mitch Myers ,

 OMD Discography - Album / CD Reviews

*** 1980: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Darkaudio

"(...) the re-recorded and arguably better version of Electricity is pure zeitgeist, a celebration of synth pop's incipient reign with fast beats and even faster singing. Messages, though it would later benefit from a far more stunning reworking, still wears the emotion of its lyrics on its sleeve, with a killer opening line -- 'It worries me, this kind of thing, how you hope to live alone and occupy your waking hours' -- and a melody both propulsive and fragile.
(...) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark is just like the band that made it -- perfectly of its time and easily transcending it."
-- Ned Raggett, AMG

***¾ 1980: Organisation audio
"The album dates back to the 80's, and is a top class representative of the synth / electronic pop genre of the time. This is the follow up album to their self-titled debut, and is a great improvement on it. For starters, Enola Gay was the major hit off the album - reaching top 10 in the UK. The other tracks are obviously less spectacular, with a mix of good tunes and experimental noises, but overall it's a good effort from the band, with a taster of the great things that came from all the albums that followed."
-- Peter JohnGolda, 6/2000, via amazon reviews

**** 1981: Architecture and Moralityaudio
" 'Architecture and Morality' proved to be one of their finest moments. Blending choral effects and wistful melody the album produced three classic singles: Souvenir with its bittersweet Humphreys vocal, the religiously inspired Joan Of Arc and its epic follow-up Maid Of Orleans. All three singles secured a top 5 chart position and by 1982 had turned OMD into household names and cover stars for Smash Hits."
--, bio

***½ 1983: Dazzle Shipsaudio
"The 1983 album 'Dazzle Ships' described a fractured futurist soundscape of ideas that drew on everything from East European radio broadcasts to industrial robots for influences. Although the album concealed some fine pop songs, its lack of critical and commercial success was perhaps responsible for OMD taking a more conservative approach in the future. "
--, bio

***¼ 1984: Junk Culture
"There are a few scintillating moments here that hark back to old OMD, but quite a few silly tracks as well. 'Tesla Girls' and 'Locomotion' are two of the band's best singles, the first crashing pop, the second tinged with carribean flavor. 'Apollo' and 'White Trash' are the only stand-outs here, both with unusual arrangements and those 'only-from-OMD' weird effects. The rest of the tracks would be great from anybody else, but just music to clean house to from OMD. Still... try to get the chorus of 'Talking Loud & Clear' out of your head. "
-- Charles Roule, 4/99, via amazon reviews

*** 1985: Crush
"The lightweight synthesizer pop of Crush represents a nearly complete reinvention of the band's original ideals, trading in the influence of Ultravox and Kraftwerk for the more contemporary fare offered up by The The, Howard Jones, et al. From a commercial standpoint, the move paid off, breaking the band into the U.S. Top 40 on the strength of singles like So in Love and Secret. Anyone looking for signs of OMD's original identity, however, will have to settle for Joan of Arc rewritten as a pop song (La Femme Accident, arguably the album's most pleasant moment)... "
-- David Connolly, AMG

***¼ 1986: The Pacific Age
"While other bands striked it rich with Stephen Hague, OMD began their downfall with him on the production helm, starting with 'Crush'. As more & more live members filled up the rank,the originality of OMD wore thin. The live sound from 'Crush' carried on to 'Pacific Age', but the crash (or lack) of ideas turned Pacific Age into a merely decent pop album, only to be saved by the superb singles Forever Live & Die and We Love You. "
-- Colin Liu, via

****¼ 1988: Best of OMD
18 songs spanning 1980 to 1986, the first incarnation of the band: Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey.
"Digitally remastered budget collection of the new wave synth pop duo's best. The material concentrates mostly on their early work, making this collection appealing to the most hardcore fans. To seal the deal, it includes the 12 inch versions of 'We Love You' and 'La Femme Accident'."

***¼ 1991: Sugar Tax audio
"After the split of OMD back in the late 80s, the resurgence of the group (now essentially an Andy McCluskey solo project) in 1991 came as something of a surprise. While many OMD fans of long-standing mourned the passing of the original group and the departure of Paul Humphreys, Sugar Tax was undeniably a very strong album indeed, eclipsing the group's previous couple of albums sales-wise and spawning two UK Top Ten hits and a couple of less successful chart singles."
-- Al Crawford, 93,

1993: Liberator audio
"... while Liberator is a reasonably good album, it's not up to the standards of Sugar Tax. (...) Overall, Liberator manages to provide fifty minutes of decent listening without actually doing anything impressive..."
-- Al Crawford, 93,

1996: Universal audio
"Ain't it always worrying when artists decide they want to totally move away from their roots and what made them what they are. While it was nice to see Paul Humphreys and Andy McClusky sharing a writing credit again, even only if it was on one song, it was still one man on his own and not a reunited OMD of old. The single Walking On the Milky Way was half decent, but not only had the current musical climate changed but OMD had too, and that was the problem. [Universal] is a weak album and really one not in the same league as the best of them. I love OMD, but even 'Dazzle Ships' is miles better than this. While so many bands had managed to embrace the 90's like Depeche Mode and even Duran Duran, OMD were struggling for ideas... Perhaps if OMD had taken a break for a couple of years after 'Sugartax' we may now have the original line up back together and still writing songs..."
Stuart P., for, 12/05

****¼ 1998: OMD Singles audio
18 hit songs spanning 1980 to 1996.

***¾ 2010: The History of Modern audio
Tracklisting: 1. New Babies: New Toys 2. If You Want It 3. History of Modern (Part I) 4. History of Modern (Part II) 5. Sometimes 6. Rfwk 7. New Holy Ground 8. The Future 9. Sister Marie Says 10. Pulse 11. Green 12. Bondage of Fate 13. The Right Side
"With their 11th studio album aptly titled 'History Of Modern', OMD trace back to their synth-pop roots and return with a powerful record that not only celebrates their legacy but also paves the way into the band’s future. With traces of old classics Enola Gay, and Maid Of Orleans resembling some of the new tracks, this record is closely as good as any of OMD’s best releases. (...) This is OMD and you won’t hear anything out of the ordinary but everything that you hear will be so familiar to your ears that it’s quite blissfully silly good actually. You can also rest assured that you can dance the night away when you listen to this record and fulfill your 80’s flashback fix in 60 seconds or less. (...) I will admit that the melancholic ballads in between danceable tracks tend to slow things down but within the deepened textures and after the overall delivery, this record is quite beautiful. No doubt, History Of Modern is one of the best comeback records for an 80’s new wave group period. "
Gian Erguiza,, 9/10

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Ultravox | Duran Duran | The Human League | A Flock of Seagulls | Tears for Fears | Kraftwerk | Soft Cell | Depeche Mode | The Associates | Pet Shop Boys

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