History of Modern CD

One of the reasons Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark called their 11th and latest album ‘History of Modern’ is because they are acutely aware of what it was they were doing with its release. On paper, this is the UK synth-pop pioneers’ first new material since 1996, but in spirit, ‘History of Modern’ has more in common with the group’s early 80’s heyday, when ‘Enola Gay’ and ‘Souvenir’, penned by two teenage Krautrock fans from the Wirral, lit up the charts and set the agenda for a bold new movement in British electronic music.

OMD taken at The Summer Pops at Aintree Pavilion, Liverpool, 2007.
[OMD taken at The Summer Pops at Aintree Pavilion, Liverpool, 2007.]

Together with the Human League and Gary Numan, OMD’s tuneful blend of cutting-edge synthwork, cool minimalism, and soulful pop – honed to perfection on the albums ‘Architecture & Morality’, ‘Dazzle Ships’ and ‘Organisation’– defined the decade, sold millions of records, and turned childhood pals Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys into stars.


“We were trying to be modern,” says Andy, pointing out that, in 1980, OMD were one of the first acts to use a sampler. “After architecture, art and design, popular music was the last of the great modernist movements, and we were genuinely trying to do something new. Quite how we thought we were going to change the world with three-and-a-half-minute pop songs, I don’t know, but we thought we could.”

[Photo courtesy of DavidPphoto on Flickr]

Fast forward 30 years to the reunited OMD and it’s clear that that sense of mischief and youthful idealism still fuels the group. “I suppose the nice thing is that, just like in the early days, we made this record simply because we fancied making a record,” says Andy. “There was no pressure to make a record in order to sell records and sustain a career. It was like making a first album again.”

OMD will be playing hits old and new in Vancouver on Friday, September 30 at the Commodore. I’m looking forward to catching their show after all this time (I too was a big fan back in the day and can’t wait to hear their new material performed live)! Australian band Washington will be opening for OMD. I have a pair of tickets to give away to one of you (and your new best friend). You can enter by:

1) leaving a comment on this site telling me your favourite OMD tune, or
2) RT the following: I entered to win tickets to see OMD at the Commodore via @arianecdesign

I’ll draw a winner at random on Tuesday, September 20. Winner and guest must be 19 or over to enter and your names will be added to the OMD guest list.

UPDATE: Congrats to @crunchycarpets aka Kerry Sauriol, whose name I drew via random.org this morning! I’ll confirm your details with the concert promoter and email you later today.

Tickets are sold out!

Tickets for OMD are also available via Live Nation or charge by phone at 1.855.985.5000. There is a NO SERVICE FEE mobile ticket service available to Rogers Wireless customers. Tickets are also available for pick up at Zulu Records, Red Cat Records, and all Ticketmaster Outlets.


  • Comment by GusF — July 22, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    If you Leave has always been a favourite of mine. It’s one of my good 80’s memories 😉

  • Comment by Sally — July 22, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    Enola Gay!! Please enter me, I’d love to go…

  • Comment by Tristan R. — July 22, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    Electricity, back to the early days of OMD for me!

  • Comment by Hugo P. — July 22, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    Enola Gay 😀

  • Comment by Shelley — July 22, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    It’s a tie between Locomotion and If You Leave. Enter me please :))

  • Comment by Frank R. — July 22, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

    So in Love…remember that one from high school.

  • Comment by Terry — July 22, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    Enola Gay, one of the greats.

  • Comment by Mary-Lou — July 22, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    E-lec-tri-city!! Such an infectious tune.

  • Comment by Sarah P. — July 24, 2011 @ 12:54 am

    If you leave. Back to the 80’s! Can’t believe OMD is coming to Vancouver after all this time…

  • Comment by Paula — July 24, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    Enola Gay is my fave for sure. Would love to win those tickets ;-)))

  • Comment by Robert B. — July 24, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    I like Locomotion, always have. Kind of just stuck to you for awhile every time it was played back in the 80’s. Glad I’ll be back in town for their show, hint hint!

  • Comment by Nancy R. — July 24, 2011 @ 10:32 am

    If you leave is also my favourite OMD tune. Curious about their new stuff, so I’m going online to check the site – thanks!

  • Comment by Rob Cottingham — July 24, 2011 @ 11:03 am

    Probably Maid of New Orleans. Enola Gay is terrific, of course, and I have a big soft spot for We Love You.

  • Comment by steffani cameron — July 29, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    Ooh. TOUGH question. Songs like If You Leave and So In Love still blow my mind, but the album Sugar Tax was the soundtrack of one of the most fun roadtrips I’ve ever had. Great memories. Some bands are as much about the memories that happened to the song as the songs themselves!

  • Comment by Nancy — August 22, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    Electricity! I’d love to win, please enter me.

  • Comment by Cali Girl — August 22, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

    Love Enola Gay, but Locomotion was pretty rad back in the day…

  • Comment by Jonathan — August 28, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

    There’s many to choose from but it was always “Souvenir.”

  • Comment by Sam-well — September 7, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

    Messages! Would love to go – HoM is a great one!

  • Comment by Crunchy Carpets — September 16, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

    Oh…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54WLYP2PDzc Forever Live and Die was on the break up mix tape my boyfriend handed to me when dumping me.


  • Comment by Ariane Behrend — September 16, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    Hard to choose, but I’ll go with ‘Secret’ … This us my last hope! Pick me, pick me! 🙂

  • Comment by Shelley — September 17, 2011 @ 10:51 am

    Talking Loud and Clear – it was the first music video that took my breath away I thought it was so beautiful; not just some dudes standing around singing (Much Music was still fresh then). And I’d wait to try to see it play before running off to highschool.


  • Comment by Stella Panagiotidis — September 17, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

    “If You Leave” baby! That’s my tune!

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