May 22, 2013
A recent post that celebrated having finally listened to a record I bought five years ago has given me an idea. The idea is to take a vinyl record from the shelves, scan the sleeve in a decent resolution and post the images alongside some cuts from the plastic they encased.
Architecture and Morality was the third LP by Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark and proved to be their most successful, selling three million copies and spawning three hit singles, two of which deserve to be listed among the finest of all time.
While the record was notable for its place at the zenith of the then burgeoning synth pop movement, the sleeve was an early example of the work of Peter Saville, who had begun to make his name in design circles with his evocative sleeves for Joy Division. The original sleeve included a cutout section, a technique that Saville was to employ to great (and expensive) effect on New Order’s 1983 single Blue Monday.
Souvenir was the first single from the record and the first time the band had been billed as OMD, the abbreviated and typist-friendly initialism that became their de facto name. Written by keyboard maestro Paul Humphreys, the single reached number three in the UK, number one in Spain and Portugal and paltry number 13 here in Belgium.
Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark / OMD :: Souvenir ⬇
The second single was penned by singer Andy McCluskey and listening to it now, it’s impossible to conceive that this was the same man who gave the world Atomic Kitten.
Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark / OMD :: Joan of Arc ⬇
Architecture and Morality proved to be Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark/OMD’s best work. The follow-up, Dazzle Ships, was widely experimental and has its moments, but by the time the band came to record number five, Junk Culture, all arty pretence had been abandoned in favour of radio-friendly pop and success in the US. Locomotion and Tesla Girls are still among the worst songs ever to have come out of a recording studio, but the band still insist on bespoiling their live shows by including those monstrosities.