[dropcap]If[/dropcap] I had to pick one word to attribute to OMD, it’s influential. Being around from 1977 on, the band influenced, among many others, Depeche Mode to explore the depths of synthesizer based music, and their debut single Electricity is likely one of the best known songs of the early New Wave/Synth Wave era. Heavily influenced by Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, for whom they opened on their first England tour in 1978 and produced by Martin Hannett and released on Factory Records, the song is certainly a cult track and a great debut for a band, but their third album, Architecture and Morality, is their creative peak in my humble opinion. Released on this day in 1981, it has not lost its fascination so far and likely it never will.
OMD were never really polished until they turned to Pop music with their 1985 album Crush, and Architecture and Morality still carries a lot of the dirt many of their previously released tracks carried, but nevertheless, the brilliantly composed album contained three tracks that turned out to be hugely successful singles – Maid of Orleans (The Waltz of Joan of Arc), Joan of Arc and Souvenir. Andy McClusky’s voice and singing style influenced many singers that eventually formed achieving commercial success eventually, and the catchy and sometimes dramatic, sometimes minimalistic arrangements of the band that displayed good understanding of efficiency and dynamics within a track to make it simply grab you. One thing for sure, Architecture and Morality is one of the most important albums ever released in the history of Synth Pop, and goes way beyond that – the very Post-Punk driven opening track The New Stone Age is a good example for OMD’s wide variety of styles, not to mention Andy McClusky’s involvement with the girl band Atomic Kitten whose songs he wrote.
It’s a good opportunity to re-listen to this genre defining masterpiece once more today. OMD’s most recent album, English Electric, displays how much the band is still acclaimed among fans of electronic music, and the release of the album was followed by a hugely successful tour and considerable commercial success, something they deserved for pioneering and influencing many bands – Happy Birthday, Architecture and Morality!