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Album #202: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture and Morality

  • Released: 1981
  • Origin: Meols, Wirral, England
  • Label: Dindisc
  • Best Track: Joan of Arc

It’s pretty poor that I’ve never really listened to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Not only are they one of the most crucial electronic bands of the 1980s, they’re also from just down the road from me. At least one of them went to the same school as I did – though much earlier!

Their third album Architecture and Morality is usually the one name-dropped by critics and seems a sensible place to start. It includes the magic single ‘Souvenir’, as well as the iconic ‘Joan of Arc’.

For an album that made the UK top three in 1981, Architecture and Morality is surprisingly subtle and atmospheric. Apart from the two aforementioned tracks, not too much on this record really jumps out as a single (I believe ‘Maid of Orleans’ was as well and reached the top five, though in many ways it’s part two of ‘Joan of Arc’).

This isn’t a criticism though as I love the mood of the album. It’s a thing of precision and beauty, with the title track and ‘Sealand’ reminding me of some of Joy Division’s sparser tracks like ‘Atmosphere’.

A marvellous work that has aged gracefully, and no doubt the start of a personal foray into OMD’s back catalogue.

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