“Architecture And Morality” by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - album review

TJR says

Their third album in a little under two years arrived in November, 1981, and was preceded by all-time classic singles in “Souvenir” (#3, the first OMD single to feature Paul on lead vocals) and “Joan Of Arc” (#5), which would soon be followed by another in “Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans)” (#4). As well as housing their three biggest hits to date, the album itself peaked at #3, another new high for the group. With the addition of saxophonist Martin Cooper, an old Dalek I Love You bandmate of Andy's, three became four: Paul Humphreys (synthesisers, piano, mellotron, acoustic and electronic percussion, organ, melodica, vocals), Andy McCluskey (synthesisers, mellotron, guitar, bass, acoustic and electronic percussion, French horn, organ, vocals), Malcolm Holmes (drums, electronic and acoustic percussion, bass synthesiser) and Martin Cooper (saxophone). Joining the sessions for a brief time was Mike Douglas (organ, piano, synthesizer). As Andy McCluskey later revealed, the title was “purloined from Martha Ladley who was the keyboard player in Martha and the Muffins who was the girlfriend of Peter Saville (a graphic designer who designed their album covers) at the time, and who suggested it. We could see it was a great title because it was a sort of metaphor for our own music: we have the electronic structure - the architecture, the inhuman machine; and we have the morality which is the warmth and the empathy and the vocals and the humanity. The tension created by the juxtaposition is where we saw the strength of our music being derived from.

Certainly, there's a greater warmth to their latest brand of synthpop, exemplified in their emotional tributes to Jeanne d'Arc, nicknamed The Maid of Orleans, leading thousands of English 80s pop fans to become experts in her short heroic / tragic life story. Basically, in 1431, Joan Of Arc, the uneducated but inspirational peasant supporter of France's struggle to be freed from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War, was betrayed by French nobles allied with the English, which led to her being burned at the stake by some catholic nutjob, aged just 19. On the topic of becoming more human in their work, McCluskey explained: “It was us wanting to do something new and not be clichéd and repeat things. I tortured myself. On the third album, the song 'Joan of Arc' has the word love in it and I kept thinking, can I use this word? But love here is kind of third party - it's not you or me, it's she. She fell in love, so I can get away with that. It's not a first or second love.” They pitched this album well I think, poignant but never cloying, with lush new textures which enraptured the soul. The work was very much deserving of all the accolades going, even if they were slow in coming.

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Jun-2007

A1 [03:22] 6.8.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - The New Stone Age (Andy McCluskey) New Wave
A2 [03:28] 7.5.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - She’s Leaving (Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys) New Wave
A3 [03:39] 9.7.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Souvenir (Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper) New Wave
A4 [07:47] 6.3.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Sealand (Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys) Film Score / Incidental
B1 [03:48] 10.0.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Joan Of Arc (Andy McCluskey) New Wave
B2 [04:12] 10.0.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans) (Andy McCluskey) New Wave
B3 [03:43] 6.5.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Architecture And Morality (Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys) Film Score / Incidental
B4 [03:24] 5.9.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Georgia (Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys) New Wave
B5 [03:48] 6.6.png Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - The Beginning And The End (Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys) Songwriter




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