By Alan RantaBands such as LCD Soundsystem, La Roux, Death Cab for Cutie, and the XX have all noted the effect of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark on their music. So it was good news indeed when, in 2010, core members Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys got back together with Malcolm Holmes and Martin Cooper, their complete classic lineup, for the first time since 1989, and they started touring and recording again. Now, in 2013, the band have released English Electric to renewed interest from fans.
"I think the climate is such that OMD can exist now," Humphreys tells Exclaim! "In the '90s, OMD was struggling to exist because what we saw was gonna be the future of electronic music, and we would be really progressing in the '90s with electronic music, all of a sudden the future was Blur and Oasis and Nirvana and things, and it was like, hold on a minute… We don't have a place in this. That's why we stopped. But in the 2000s, a lot of young bands were referencing us an influence, and there's a lot more electronic music around, and the climate existed again where OMD could also exist. So we're just enjoying being back doing interesting things again, but on our terms this time."
OMD have not returned simply to cash in on the climate, though. They're back now because they want to be — because they still have the desire to make exciting music, and have fun doing it. Their first album back, History of Modern, was released in 2010, and they've followed that up with English Electric in 2013, a record that recalls what many see as their last great album, 1983's Dazzle Ships. To achieve this feat, they attempted to return to the "dysfunctional" early working method that made their first four albums in the early '80s so unique.
"We attempted to erase everything that we'd learned after 1984, which was a bit tricky," Humphreys explains. "When we started out, Andy and I had no musical training or knowledge. We were just working on our instincts for the first four albums. But the more we played live and the more records we made, the more competent we became. I think our songs got a little bit more conservative in terms of their arrangements over the years. I think we got a little bit safer.
"But for our first four albums, there were no real rules. A lot of the choruses were keyboard melodies. They weren't song choruses. Because of the technology we had as well, and our lack of musical knowledge, our songs were incredibly simple and unusually arranged, because we didn't really know how to arrange them. We tried to go back to the feelings, and those simplistic, unusual arrangements."
The group are currently touring in support of English Electric, out now on BMG/Chrysalis. Find all of the band's tour dates below.
4/18 Mexico City, Mexico - Teatro Metroplitan 4/21 Indio, CA - Coachella (Empire Polo Grounds) 4/28 Margate, UK - Winter Gardens 4/29 Birmingham, UK - Symphony Hall 5/1 Nottingham, UK - Royal Centre 5/2 Ipswich, UK - Regent Theatre 5/3 London, UK - Roundhouse 5/5 Hall, Bristol, UK - Colston 5/6 Oxford, UK - New Theatre 5/8 Sheffield, UK - City Hall 5/9 Leeds, UK - Academy 5/10 Manchester, UK - Academy 5/12 Glasgow, UK - Royal Concert Hall 5/13 Gateshead, UK - Sage 5/14 Liverpool, UK - Empire 5/17 Utrecht, Netherlands - Tivoli 5/18 Paris, France - Le Trianon 5/20 Brussels, Belgium - Ancienne Belgique 5/21 Hamburg, Germany - Docks 5/22 Bielfeld, Germany - Ringlokschuppen 5/24 Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom 5/25 Leipszig, Germany - Haus Auensee 5/27 Koln, Germany - Ewerk 5/30 Dublin, Ireland - Vicar Street 7/11 Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall 7/12 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer 7/13 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club 7/15 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club 7/17 New York, NY - Terminal 5 7/19 Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall 7/20 Detroit, MI - Saint Andrew's Hall 7/22 Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theatre 7/23 Chicago, IL - Metro