Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark’ Category


Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark – Junk Culture (1984) – Lp

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are an English electronic music band formed in Wirral, Merseyside in 1978. Spawned by earlier group The Id, the outfit was founded by Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys.












Artist:  Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark
Title:  Junk Culture
Year:  1984
Format:  LP
Label:  Virgin Records
Catalog#  206257

Smarting from Dazzle Ships‘ commercial failure, the band had a bit of a rethink when it came to their fifth album — happily, the end result showed that the group was still firing on all fours. While very much a pop-oriented album and a clear retreat from the exploratory reaches of previous work, Junk Culture was no sacrifice of ideals in pursuit of cash. In comparison to the group’s late-’80s work, when it seemed commercial success was all that mattered, Junk Culture exhibits all the best qualities of OMD at their most accessible — instantly memorable melodies and McCluskey‘s distinct singing voice, clever but emotional lyrics, and fine playing all around. A string of winning singles didn’t hurt, to be sure; indeed, opening number “Tesla Girls” is easily the group’s high point when it comes to sheer sprightly pop, as perfect a tribute to obvious OMD inspirational source Sparks as any — witty lines about science and romance wedded to a great melody (prefaced by a brilliant, hyperactive intro). “Locomotion” takes a slightly slower but equally entertaining turn, sneaking in a bit of steel drum to the appropriately chugging rhythm and letting the guest horn section take a prominent role, its sunny blasts offsetting the deceptively downcast lines McCluskey sings. Meanwhile, “Talking Loud and Clear” ends the record on a reflective note — Cooper‘s intra-verse sax lines and mock harp snaking through the quiet groove of the song. As for the remainder of the album, if there are hints here and there of the less-successful late-’80s period, at other points the more adventurous side of the band steps up. The instrumental title track smoothly blends reggae rhythms with the haunting mock choirs familiar from earlier efforts, while the elegiac, Humphreys-sung “Never Turn Away” and McCluskey‘s “Hard Day” both make for lower-key highlights.


Side one
1.  Junk Culture  (4:04)
2.  Tesla Girls  (3:50)
3.  Locomotion  (3:49)
4.  Apollo  (3:38)
5.  Never Turn Away  (3:54)

Side two
1.  Love And Violence  (4:39)
2.  Hard Day  (5:36)
3.  All Wrapped Up  (4:21)
4.  White Trash  (4:34)
5.  Talking Loud And Clear  (4:19)


Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark – Dazzle Ships (1983) – Lp

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are an English electronic music band formed in Wirral, Merseyside in 1978. Spawned by earlier group The Id, the outfit was founded by Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals); amid rotating line-ups, Martin Cooper (various instruments) and Malcolm Holmes (drums) are the longest-serving additional members.












Artist:  Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark
Title:  Dazzle Ships
Year:  1983
Format:  LP
Label:  Virgin Records
Catalog#  205295

Dazzle Ships is the fourth album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1983. The title and cover art (designed by Peter Saville) alluded to a painting by Vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth based on dazzle camouflage, titled Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool.

Dazzle Ships was the follow-up release to the band’s hugely successful Architecture & Morality (1981). OMD, then at their peak of popularity, opted for a major departure in sound on the record, shunning any commercial obligation to duplicate their previous LP. The album is noted for its highly experimental content, particularly musique concrète sound collages, and the use of shortwave radio recordings to explore Cold War and Eastern Bloc themes.

What else can be said when hearing the album’s lead single, the soaring “Genetic Engineering,” with its Speak & Spell toy vocals and an opening sequence that also sounds like the inspiration for “Fitter, Happier,” for instance? Why it wasn’t a hit remains a mystery, but it and the equally enjoyable, energetic “Telegraph” and “Radio Waves” are definitely the poppiest moments on the album. Conceived around visions of cryptic Cold War tension, the rise of computers in everyday life, and European and global reference points — time zone recordings and snippets of shortwave broadcasts — Dazzle Ships beats Kraftwerk at their own game, science and the future turned into surprisingly warm, evocative songs or sudden stop-start instrumental fragments. “Dazzle Ships (Parts II, III, and VII)” itself captures the alien feeling of the album best, with its distanced, echoing noises and curious rhythms, sliding into the lovely “The Romance of the Telescope.” “This Is Helena” works in everything from what sounds like heavily treated and flanged string arrangements to radio announcer samples, while “Silent Running” becomes another in the line of emotional, breathtaking OMD ballads, McCluskey‘s voice the gripping centerpiece.

In contrast with its predecessor, Dazzle Ships met with a degree of critical and commercial hostility. Opinion of the record has transmuted in the years since its release, however: it has come to be regarded as a “masterpiece” and a “lost classic”, and has achieved cult status among music fans. The album has also been cited as an influence by numerous artists.


Side one
1.  Radio Prague (1:18)
2.  Genetic Engineering  (3:42)
3.  ABC Auto-Industry  (2:06)
4.  Telegraph  (2:57)
5.  This Is Helena (1:58)
6.  International  (4:26)

Side two
1.  Dazzle Ships (Parts II III & VII)  (2:21)
2.  The Romance Of The Telescope  (3:26)
3.  Silent Running  (3:33)
4.  Radio Waves (3:44)
5.  Time Zones  (3:23)
6.  Of All The Things We’ve Made  (3:23)

%d bloggers like this: