OMD - Architecture & Morality (1981) / Dazzle Ships (1983) / Crash (1985)
Paul Humphries - Synthesisers, Piano, Mellotron, Electronic and Acoustic Percussion, Organ, Rhythm Programming, Radios, Melodica and Vocals
Andy McCluskey - Synthesisers, Mellotron, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Rhythm Programming, Acoustic and Electronic Percussion, Reed Horns, Organ and Vocals
Malcolm Holmes - Drums, Electronic and Acoustic Percussion, Bass Synthesiser
Martin Cooper - Saxophone
Michael Douglas - Synthesisers, Piano and Electronic Organ
Architecture & Morality (1981)
01 The New Stone Age (3:18)
02 She's Leaving (3:26)
03 Souvenir (3:36)
04 Sealand (7:42)
05 Joan Of Arc (3:46)
06 Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans) (4:11)
07 Architecture & Morality (3:37)
08 Georgia (3:21)
09 The Beginning & The End (3:44)
Link to download:
"I have just listened to the entire album for the first time, and all I can say (or write, for that matter) is...wow. This is the most emotionally moving series of musical pieces I have ever heard in my life. The strange dichotomy present in New Wave music, passionate lyrics combined with "cold" synthesized compositions, is unified and made whole on this alubm. OMD brings a heavily emotional, almost religious shade to every one of these tracks. The synths are far from cold here--no, they are organic, warm, and lovely. I will need to listen carefully to each of the songs once more, but I can safely state that the impact of this CD will forever ring clear in my mind."
Dazzle Ships (1983)
01 Radio Prague (1:18)
02 Genetic Engineering (3:36)
03 ABC Auto-Industry (2:06)
04 Telegraph (2:56)
05 This Is Helena (1:55)
06 International (4:24)
07 Dazzle Ships (Parts II, III & VII) (2:21)
08 The Romance Of The Telescope (3:27)
09 Silent Running (3:34)
10 Radio Waves (3:44)
11 Time Zones (1:49)
12 Of All The Things We've Made (3:27)
Link to download:
"I disagree with those of you who say this album is crap. For a synth-poppy band to go THIS FAR off the deep end, in the 80s, was brave and adventurous. They merge Kraftwerk-like obsession with Shortwave Radio with their traditional beautiful romantic songs, for a brilliantly jarring combination. It's definitely noisier and grittier than anything other new romantics were recording, but retains an edge into the musique concrete direction..... I loved this album when it was released, and still love it now. I personally think it was the LAST good album OMD released...... "
01 So In Love
03 Bloc Bloc Bloc
04 Women III
06 88 Seconds in Greensboro
07 The Native Daughters of the Golden West
08 La Femme Accident
09 Hold You
10 The Lights Are Going Out
Link to download:
"The album dates back to the 80's, and is a top class representative of the synth / electronic pop genre of the time. This album is perhaps the one with the most "romantic egde" in of all the other OMD works. I characterise this album as softer round the edges, and perfect for a rainy evening when another OMD album would perhaps not fit as well. Three tracks made the "Best Of" compilation - namely "So In Love", "Secret" and "La Femme Accident". The other tracks may not have the same commercially catchy tunes, but are well worth the investment."
"In many ways Crush was one final creative burst for the original lineup of OMD. Crush succeeds not only because it avoids gratuitous disco numbers, but because it taps into what made OMD great in the past; a balance between expirementation and pop appeal, moods of ironic melancholy, and the ability to combine music, lyrics, and cover art into one cohesive artistic presentation. "Bloc Bloc Bloc" manages to graft a rockabilly Elvis style onto an 80's keyboard pop song (no easy feat), and "88 Seconds in Greensboro' and "Native Daughters of the Golden West" take an unexpected turn with electric guitars and heavy drums. The expirementation continues with "The Lights are Going Out" and "Crush," which is built on samples of television commercials that Andy McCluskey recorded while in Japan. Lyrics are generally about dysfunctional relationships, though "88 Seconds" takes a stab at social consciousness (it's about a racially motivated massacre). Overall, the OMD sound has matured and warmed, there are some nice sax parts and drummer Malcolm Holmes serves up some tasty organic sounding grooves too. "Hold You" is the only filler track here, the rest is an engaging listen and refreshingly creative."
Biography part 2.
OMD's third album, the ethereal '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.
With 3 hit albums and a string of million selling singles it seemed that the band had a Midas touch. It was about to desert them with the release of their most radical album to date.
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.
The album 'Junk Culture' from 1984 saw the band steering closer to a more traditional band approach.
Producer Stephen Hague was drafted in for the 1985 album 'Crush' and the subsequent 1986 album 'The Pacific Age'. Hague managed to give the songs on both albums a polished edge, while retaining an essential energy that was vital to the songs. Singles such as 'So In Love' and '(Forever) Live & Die' drew on OMD's flair for writing engaging melodies, while demonstrating that they were taking much more of a traditionalist approach to song production.
This period also saw the band touring extensively in North America and finally achieving the chart success that had eluded them for so long in the USA. 'If You Leave', specifically written for the John Hughes movie 'Pretty In Pink', was a huge success globally (although strangely not in the UK). However, the consistent schedule of touring took a toll on the band both professionally as well as personally and 'Dreaming', released in 1988, was to be the last single written by Humphreys and McCluskey. (end of part 2.)
next time: The Pacific Age (1986) /Sugar Tax (1991) /Liberator (1993) /Peel Sessions 1979-1983