Synth-pop stalwarts, OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) return with a new release, impressively thirteenth at that. The Punishment of Luxury showcases their influences, whilst combining their nostalgic lyrics with an underscore of Kraftwerk. This follow up to the critically acclaimed English Electric, which was released four years ago, The Punishment Of Luxury is a compilation of stylised synth-pop fused with romanticised, nostalgic lyrics of decades past.
Written, recorded, produced and mixed by OMD, which consists these days of Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper and Stuart Kershaw, this album is a confident one but certainly lacks melody. Taking its name from an 1891 painting by the Italian Giovani Segantini and including everything from the blatantly Kraftwerkian Isotype and Robot Man to the blue-eyed soul ballads of One More Time and The View From Here as well as more traditional OMD songs like Kiss Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Bang, which sees references to bands like the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure. However, with their sound, it’s not an easy task to differentiate from other bands that play in this style.
Inspiring the likes of The XX and LCD Soundsystem, it’s clear that OMD have had an influence on the music of today as well as drawing from their peers and those of the past. Formed in Wirral, Merseyside in 1978, spawned by earlier group The Id, the outfit was founded by Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals. They released their influential debut single, Electricity, in 1979, and gained popularity throughout Europe with the 1980 anti-war song Enola Gay. The band achieved wider recognition via Architecture & Morality (1981) but resisted celebrity status, the group earned acclaim for their daring recordings, which combined sonic experimentation and unusual content with musical hooks.
Piercing, reflective, toe-tapping, repetitive, synthesized, with hints of Arcade Fire, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys and also yet Public Service Broadcasting, this is an eclectic synth-album, which will throw you either back in time or to a more modern reflective place with the likes of militant-sounding La Mitrailleuse. This album sees a welcome return from a highly influential band, which will be back out on the road again this autumn for a string of must-see shows, including a show at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on November 19th.
For more on OMD and their forthcoming tour click here.