Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (1980)
Architecture & Morality (1981)
The Pacific Age (1986)
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are an English electronic music band formed in Wirral, opposite Liverpool in Merseyside in 1978. Spawned by earlier group The Id, the outfit was founded by Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals); amid rotating line-ups, Martin Cooper (various instruments) and Malcolm Holmes (drums) are the longest-serving additional members. OMD released their influential debut single, "Electricity", in 1979, and gained popularity throughout Europe with the 1980 anti-war song "Enola Gay". The band achieved broader recognition via their seminal album Architecture & Morality (1981) and its three singles, all of which were international hits. Steadily resistant to celebrity status, the group earned acclaim for their adventurous recordings, which combined sonic experimentation and atypical subject matter with musical hooks.
Although retrospectively described as a challenging masterpiece, the avant-garde Dazzle Ships (1983) eroded European support. The band embraced a more straightforward pop sound on Junk Culture (1984), while continuing to experiment via newly acquired digital samplers; this change in direction led to greater success in the United States, and yielded the 1986 hit, "If You Leave". A year after the release of The Best of OMD (1988), creative differences rendered McCluskey the only remaining member of the group as Humphreys formed spin-off band The Listening Pool. OMD would return with a new line-up and explore the dance-pop genre: Sugar Tax (1991) and its initial singles were sizeable hits in Europe. By the mid 1990s, however, electronic music had been supplanted by alternative rock, and both OMD and The Listening Pool disbanded in 1996. McCluskey went on to found, and write multiple hits for girl group Atomic Kitten, while Humphreys performed as half of the duo Onetwo.
In 2006, the outfit reformed with Humphreys back in the fold, and began to work on material more akin to their early output. The band re-established themselves as a chart act in Europe, while enjoying a growing international fanbase and a legacy as innovators within popular music. An influence on many artists in diverse genres, their songs have been covered, remixed and sampled by numerous chart musicians, and the group are the subject of two tribute albums. The Oxford Times described OMD as being "among the most important bands Britain has ever produced".