OMD Don’t Plan On Leaving Just Yet…
Anyone who knows me personally is well aware of my love affair of all sounds electronic especially when they are deftly fit into a melodic template and become irresistible pop nuggets. The ones who do it better tend to stand the tests of time but it’s the legends who manage to retain the best bits of the halcyon days of yore and show the flexibility to add contemporary elements to create a work that remains fresh. As we have witnessed thus far this year, Depeche Mode didn’t. The spirit hasn’t been back since Playing The Angel. Erasure? Sadly, no. Instead it’s the Liverpudlian duo who managed to connect their love of Kraftwerk, Doctor Who, science fiction and anything but the normal pop topics to be one of the more influential and underrated acts of the last forty years. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, better known as OMD and annoyingly here in the States, that 80s band that had that one hit If You Leave.
The new record entitled The Punishment Of Luxury (because, of course!) is essentially nothing less than what we’ve come to expect from the songwriting duo of Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys. The spectre of Kraftwerk still hovers over the sound and forms the bedrock from which McCluskey and Humphreys spin their maudlin tales of the marvels of science (Isotype), art and music (Art Eats Art) with a touch of socio-political/socio-economic commentary (Kiss Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Bang/The Punishment Of Luxury). Nothing to be heard on the record will surprise nor is there anything to be found to underwhelm. The OMD you knew and loved as a teen is now a more mature OMD that hasn’t cashed in its chips nor decided to grow up and start writing adult alternative nonsense.
Since the rekindling of the partnership that brought OMD from hiatus came to pass, each successive record found the band finding its bearings to grand effect. I dare say this just might be their best effort yet. So effortless and all the charm to spare with all the pretension one would expect. Thank goodness those qualities are still here to be heard and enjoyed in 2017.