Monday, 15 April 2013

Me and OMD - English Electric - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

1984s Tesla Girls 12" single was my first OMD record. 1988s "The Best of OMD" greatest hits compilation and accompanying Beta-max video collection fully introduced me to the band who had been synth pioneers since the late 70s.

This month (April 2013) saw the release of their 12th studio album English Electric. It follows neatly on from 2010s History of Modern - which saw the classic 80s lineup of the band reunited for the first time in over 20 years.

With nods to 1983s Dazzle Ships some abstract sonic numbers bookend the 'proper' tracks on the album, which mostly have a classic OMD sound that you can relate to previous works by the band.  The synth pop of Dresden with its Enola Gay roots, Helen of Troy this album's Joan of Arc.  Paul Humphreys pops up to sing on Stay With Me - not quite Souvenir but trying.  The Kraftwerk fans wear their influences on their sleeves here - Kissing The Machine sees Kark Bartos writing with Andy again, and Metroland could easily sneak onto Kraftwerk The Mix unnoticed.  Night Cafe is also a standout track with sees Andy emoting away.

English Electric builds on and is more consistent than 2010's (still good) History of Modern which would have benefited from a little pruning (Pulse for me was superfluous)

Happy as I am for the band to back together and embracing their classic sound, I was a huge fan of 90s OMD.  Sugar Tax in 1991 was a phenomenal piece of synth-pop, and it's no wonder Andy McCluskey rolled out the hits for Atomic Kitten after this (Whole Again, Right Now, I Want Your Love.)  I'm glad this period isn't ignored and live gigs are still peppered with some hits from this era of the band.

Speaking of which I'm off to see them on the 12th of May at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall - the first time I'll have seen them play since the triumphant comeback tour of 2007.  It should be an enjoyable night as they are a band who can in turn take them selves quite seriously for their more experimental tunes, and also let their hair down for some silly dancing to classic pop tunes - this is the band that gave your prom a soundtrack  in  Pretty In Pink remember (If You Leave).

I'm really glad OMD are still plugging away and seem to be having some success with the new album making number 12 on this weeks chart.

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