Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Formed 1977.
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Paul Humphreys and Andy McClusky of OMD talk to Janice Long

Paul Humphreys and Andy McClusky of OMD talk to Janice Long about their new album.

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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are a British new wave group formed in 1978, whose founding members, Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals), are originally from Wirral, England. While steadily eschewing pop star status, the band cultivated a fanbase in the United Kingdom from 1978–1980. They gained popularity throughout Europe with the hugely successful 1980 single "Enola Gay", and achieved broader recognition via seminal album Architecture & Morality (1981) and its singles. OMD also garnered acclaim for their experimental recordings, consistently producing music of greater intellectual depth than that of their peers.

Although retrospectively lauded, the sonically challenging Dazzle Ships (1983) eroded European consumer interest during the mid 1980s; Junk Culture (1984) marked a shift toward more pop-oriented songwriting. Concurrently, OMD reached their peak in the United States and had a major hit with 1986's "If You Leave", written for the film Pretty in Pink. Humphreys departed in 1989 with Martin Cooper (various instruments) and Malcolm Holmes (drums) to form The Listening Pool, leaving McCluskey to lead the outfit; Sugar Tax (1991) and its initial singles were sizeable hits in Europe. By the mid 1990s, however, synthpop had become unfashionable amid the guitar oriented musical climate, and McCluskey dissolved the band in 1996, months after their last successful single, "Walking on the Milky Way". He founded pop group Atomic Kitten in 1998.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of History of Modern

    History of Modern 2010

    Reviewed by John Doran
    A few highs aside, this is a poor return from the 80s hit-makers.
  2. Review of Dazzle Ships

    Dazzle Ships 2008

    Reviewed by Daryl Easlea
    Painful, it is, at times. Yet beautiful it is too: Very, very much so.
  3. Review of Architecture and Morality

    Architecture and Morality 2007

    Reviewed by Amar Patel
    OMD deserve respect and adoration for their contribution to British pop music.
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