Thursday, February 04, 2016

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark—Organisation (Virgin/DinDisc 1980)

My 15-year-old self wouldn’t be impressed that I’m listening to OMD these days. To hell with that kid, though; he was no fun. I sometimes consider an alternate history for myself had my parents stayed in England. Maybe my teenage years wouldn’t have been so rockist; maybe my friend that had a job might have come home with a Wasp synth one day, and our basement band would have been based around that. Or maybe, because of genetic programming, I’d still have listened to nothing but Rush, Queen, and Iron Maiden.

I picked up Architecture and Morality a little while ago, and then found a copy of Dazzle Ships after that. What strikes me about OMD is that, for a synth-pop band, they sure revel in bleak, atmospheric sounds. Organisation, OMD’s second album, is quite meek compared to those two later LPs, and less prone to dark tangents. More conventionally organised, you might say. “Enola Gay” is the most famous track, of course, a chorus-free ditty whose simplicity only hints at later, more sophisticated hits like “Joan of Arc” and “Souvenir.”

My favourite tracks end side one and begin side two. “Statues" and “The Misunderstanding” evoke Joy Division and The Cure respectively, and paint the rest of the album in the deep gray that frames the cover photo.

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