Feb 05, 2024

OMD is Back to Form with a New Album and Show in Prague

OMD is among the best of the post-punk British synth-pop groups that arose in the late 70s-early 80s.

Their 1980 debut is packed with tracks considered classics of the era including “Electricity,” and “Messages” while their second album includes their first hugely popular success in the US, “Enola Gay.”

This First Wave of British synth-pop is still influential as it embraced electronica for a danceable pop music unafraid of experimentation and with intelligent lyrics, setting a high standard at that time among other groups like the Human League, New Order, Ultravox, Simple Minds and Visage.

OMD at its core was and is still the lead voice of Andy McCluskey (also on bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals). This English duo unfortunately parted ways at the end of the 80s as McClusky carried on with a new OMD. However, none of the albums sans Humphreys match the OMD’s original heyday era, essentially their first four albums: “Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark” (1980); “Organisation” (1980); “Architecture & Morality” (1981), and “Dazzle Ships” (1983).

“Architecture & Morality” should be considered their masterpiece with a combination of pop radio hits such as “Souvenir” or “Georgia” and sonically aggressive, edgier tracks as the opener “The New Stone Age.” This album is as unforgettably haunting as The Cure (in the same era), as a post-punk gem.

Meanwhile “Dazzle Ships” has a special connection to the Czech Republic, as its leading track is “Radio Prague.” This is a 1.28 minute sample (in Czech) from Czech Radio broadcasting with their old signature theme song and station identification as the socialist state of Czechoslovakia’s international broadcasting program.

To put this on an album in the UK in 1983, back in the Cold War of the Thatcher era, basically when there were no common economic or cultural relations allowed between East and West was a provocation, while now it is poetic nostalgia as a radio sample slipped into pop electronica.

Humphreys returned to OMD for their eleventh album “History of Modern” (2010), and since then they have released three more albums including “Bauhaus Staircase” (2023). And this one according to critics and the duo co-founders themselves is considered an album that matches their prime of the 80s.

OMD seems not to be promising to play all of the hits of their earlier albums on this tour. They are most proud of their last two recordings, “The Punishment of Luxury” (2017), and especially “Bauhaus Staircase” which notably has an inordinate number of songs related to death and the extinction of our planet, suggesting it is best to live fully and without remorse.

In this way, it could be seen as a swan song album, just as Bowie’s “Blackstar” stands out as one of his best at the end of his life; it does not mean this last OMD album is depressing, but instead the point is that McCluskey and Humphreys have finally reached their magic yet once again for another peak in their years of musical collaboration.

For advanced tickets, click here

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