Souvenir Documentary- November 2007
(Dir. Rob Finighan)
Like many of their songs, the story of the formation and subsequent rise to fame of OMD is not a conventional one by any stretch of the imagination. They were the living, breathing, Liverpudlian oxymoron- an anti-image pop group who were 'writing songs for [themselves]...that other people just happened to like as well'. They set out to make music similar to that of their heroes- German Krautrock Gods Kraftwerk- 'never really took [themselves] seriously' and were sure they would never write any new material ever again after they released the album that made them more famous than they had ever been before.
How, then, did they end up being one of the most influential synth-pop bands in history? That is exactly the question that this documentary sets out to answer- although not directly, of course. A typical, un-amusing revision of things fans have heard hundreds of times that lead to nothing much in particular would be completely 'un-OMD'. 'Souvenir', therefore, begins as it means to go on- with a great deal of freshness that cannot only be attributed to the new information and never-before-told anecdotes it reveals, but also to the fact that we join key members Andy and Paul on the cusp of an experience that is completely new for them too- their comeback tour, after over ten years of absence from writing and performing as OMD. Whilst both had kept relatively involved with music world during those years (in the 1990s, McCluskey had formed and written hits such as 'Whole Again' for girl group Atomic Kitten, whilst Paul had toured and written with ex-Propaganda member Claudia Brücken), the last album OMD released as an outfit was 1996's 'Universal', and even then only McCluskey was still an official member, with Humphreys featured only on writing credits.
Anyway, after this initial, necessary setting of the scene, viewers are taken on a journey through the band's history, making various stops to discuss the inspiration behind some of their most well-known songs, the making of their albums, and, perhaps most interestingly, to get to know a little more about Paul and Andy themselves, and how surprisingly different they are to each other. It is in this last point that we find the answer to our question- the differences in the personality and writing styles of McCluskey and Humphreys is where the secret of their success lies.
They have, in the past, been compared to Lennon and McCartney, with McCluskey taking the part of the louder, mouthier, brash lyrics man Lennon, and Humphreys filling the role of the considerably sweeter and more melodic McCartney. And, like the two Beatles legends, whilst separately they write good music, together Andy and Paul make incredible music.
Together, they are OMD.