OMD present new album at Tape London
It might be nearly four decades since they first emerged on the scene but electronic music titan Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are still going strong. The two co-founders, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, marked the release of their 13th studio album by performing to a small but enthusiastic crowd at Tape London, a members-only club in Hanover Square.
It’s not hard to tell that McCluskey and Humphreys are old hands at performing live. Their humorous back-and-forth between songs was charming, particularly their knowing shout out to the journalists in the room, insisting they weren’t going to play any classic hits. That said, one would be forgiven for thinking this wasn’t the case, since they received impressively riotous applause for artists playing tunes only released that same day. Ghost Star, a tender six-minute slow-build of a song, received a particularly thunderous response, as well as the title track, The Punishment of Luxury, with which they closed the show.
OMD’s 2006 reformation came at an opportune time, since the synth-pop sound they became famous for in the 80s is having a resurgence. The downside of this, however, is that contemporary listeners risk being oversaturated with synthesised electronic music and, despite the band’s avant-garde past, featuring challenging works like their 1983 Dazzle Ships, they no longer seem that eager to push the boat out. The Punishment of Luxury offers excellent production and melodies but, with a few exceptions on the tracklist, there is little to make it stand out. While their lyrics might focus on a critique of contemporary living, their lack of conceptual progression serves to make them feel a bit dated.
That said, there are worse crimes than giving your devoted long-term fanbase exactly what they want and certainly OMD are still producing work of a high calibre. Their songs ranged from the touchingly emotional, such as What Have We Done, to the aggressively cynical without losing sight of the warm, enjoyable sound for which they have become so well-known.
Photo: Ian Plested
For further information and future events visit the OMD website here.
Watch the video for The Punishment of Luxury here: