Monday, 16 December 2013

The Archivist: OMD - Sugar Tax

Cast your mind back. If you go to a lot of live concerts there are some that are like mileposts in the story of your gigging life.
I have always been an admirer of OMD. From their early beginnings where they applied the punk ethos to the music of the German electronic giants like Kraftwerk, Can & Tangerine Dream and filtered it through a pop sensibility. Early hits such as Electricity & Enola Gay gave the band an almost instant career in the UK.

Formed in 1978 by duo Andy McCluskey & Paul Humphreys, the band went on to produce some of the best pop of the 80s. They achieved hit after hit in the UK and the albums went gold all over the world.
Over several albums, they pushed the barriers of electronic music with two definitive albums - Architecture & Morality and Dazzleships. And continued to maintain their underlying pop sensibilities.

They also had a breakthrough in America when the had a song on the soundtrack of the 80s hit movie Pretty In Pink.

However, in 1989, there were the inevitable 'musical differences' when Paul decided the band were becoming too commercial. Andy & Paul decided to go their separate ways.
Paul went on to form The Listening Pool with two of the former members of the OMD band.
This left Andy to remain recording under the OMD banner.
In 1991, he released what was, for me, OMDs best album. Sugar Tax.
I saw the band live on this tour at the Cardiff Ice Rink, of all places. With support act Gary Numan warming up the crowd nicely, Andy went on to give one of the best shows I have ever seen. With the new album producing some of the strongest OMD songs they had ever released and was definitely their strongest overall album - All killer, No filler!!
The show opened up with the brilliant Apollo XI, which set the tone perfectly for an amazing night and album.
The first single was
The singles had more of a dance feel than on the previous albums but were SO catchy.
But the album also had some more reflective moments to give you time to catch your breath.
Sugar Tax is a modern pop classic and really should be up there with the likes of Jackson's Off The Wall for producing some of the best pop tunes of the decade. It did sell to platinum status in the UK and set the template for the next few albums although they never captured the complete work of Sugar Tax, Andy did go on and produce some more classic pop hits.
Andy even had time to go and write some more great pop tunes for a Liverpool female 3 piece group
In 2010, Andy & Paul reunited for a new album and released History of Modern
And in 2013, they released their best album since Sugar Tax called English Electric. The boys are back and as good as they've ever been.
Twitter - @OfficialOMD

1 comment:

  1. Never really listened to this lp mainly as kind of felt it was an Andy M solo lp rather than an OMD and had founf the Pacific Age just a tad too patchy (We Lou You - or what ever it was calle dis head and hsoulders the worst thing they have ever done). - so will need to give it a proper go. I cant see it toppling A & M or the first lp as mu favs. You are right though about the 2 comeback lps they are both fantastic. I saw them tour junk culture as my 2nd ever concer and this yr saw them tour with EE - they were just as good 2nd time around