SotD80 - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Inspired by our series of articles looking back at music released 30 years ago, Jimmy Hunter takes a step further back in time to give us a Song of the Day 1980. This week, he delivers some Messages...

Well here we are. For me, the start of commercial New Wave – a signal that we’re moving on from the ‘70s and into a new decade. It feels fresh, it feels new, we’ve watched some bands get some attention and this one actually makes an impact; makes people notice. Some of us have already noticed.

This week, my dear progressives, we’re listening to the initial salvo from OMD – Messages and we are loving it.

Those of you who have dipped into these articles may have picked up on the fact that I’m a fan of electronica and right from the first bars, the almost tweeting-like sound provides the hook the whole way through. It doesn’t matter that we can’t understand most of what Andy McCluskey sings because we hear his voice and it carries the melody. I’ve heard this record called bland and ok, you may not be a fan but this record heralded a change – the public tuning into a new sound. And in my view, a fabulous sound.

From 2020, many will not find it easy (or indeed, not see the point) to look back at this stuff let alone try to see it with a fresh eye; to imagine it being very different to what’s gone before and yet unlike punk, there’s little fanfare. This genre has its roots spread quite far, much like disco, and it’s arrival was a fairly steady stream but the New Wave clubs in London had been buzzing for over a year with this stuff gradually building.

Fortunately for us, the record label and the group remastered a bunch of tracks and put them on YouTube so we can listen with a clarity that simply wasn’t available with even the best needle. Enjoy.

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