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With countless young groups in the new century discovering the joys of synths and mechanized beats, it's only fair that the men who wrote the original playbook should re-join the fray and reap their just rewards. No fan of synth-pop should be without OMD's 1981 masterwork Architecture & Morality, but 2013's English Electric makes a strong case for learning from your elders. This album's jammed tight with the elements of pop and experimentalism that made for a jarring experience in the early '80s and that today makes OMD sound as natural as breathing. On the second album since the group's 2005 reunion, OMD sound more comfortable than ever. Tunes like "Metroland," "Night Cafe," and "Helen of Troy" are "classic" OMD, veering closely to Kraftwerk's territory but with an unmistakable British touch. Andy McCluskey's crooning has always been part craft/part overwhelmed emotion, but the years have turned it into a familiar voice like that of an old lovestruck friend. Or, if you're new to OMD, the sound of a glorious drama queen.


Formed: 1978 in Liverpool, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Featuring the core members Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey, the Liverpudlian synth pop group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark formed in the late '70s. Humphreys and McCluskey began performing together in school, playing in the bands VCL XI, Hitlerz Underpantz, and the Id. After the Id split in 1978, McCluskey was with Dalek I Love You for a brief time. Once he left Dalek, he joined with Humphreys and Paul Collister to form Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. The group released its first single,...
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