Architecture and Morality by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Architecture And Morality
Released 8th November 1981
- The New Stone Age
- She's Leaving
- Joan Of Arc
- Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans)
- Architecture And Morality
- The Beginning And The End
- ,Extended Souvenir
- Motion And Heart (Amazon Version)
- Sacred Heart
- The Romance Of The Telescope
- Of All The Things We've Made
- Gravity Never Failed
A bonus DVD “Live At Drury Lane” was also added in a collectors edition of the album in 2007.
A Great review on this album by Member D Below...
“Architecture & Morality by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark” is what it said on the album sleeve, the two letter preposition put there to make sure we all knew which was the title of the album and which was the band name. But they needn't have bothered; true, OMD had been away from the charts and general radio scene for some months when the record was released in November 1981. Enola Gay had been the only single taken from the previous album at the end of 1980 and since then the popular music scene had been busily evolving with so many new names coming onto the scene as the new pop took hold. But the success of the two preceding singles off Architecture & Morality (hereinafter referred to as the album!) had more than consolidated OMD's rather awkward name with the general public and there were indeed great expectations for the new album.
The album had, as with the previous two, been written, recorded and produced in what now seems like record time, considering that since the end of 1980 the band had been busy with touring in the UK, Europe and even the USA where they seem to have enjoyed modest success. Notwithstanding the busy schedule the band had found time to go into The Gramophone Suite once more to lay down the tracks of what was to be their most successful album to date. It was the 'difficult third album' test and OMD knew they had to come up with something big. New technology was also brought in to enhance and enrich their sound, including the Mellotron which was to be so important in creating the characteristic choral sounds for many of the tracks.
Although the preceding singles had somehow lulled us into a new softer sounding OMD style the album opened with a rather angry statement with brash guitar playing, screeching synths and almost shouted vocals on ‘The New Stone Age’ (“Oh my God what have we done this time?”). We’re off to a cracking start. Things calm down a little with the more melodic ‘She’s Leaving’, a nod perhaps in the direction of The Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’ although here the scenario and tempo are different to fellow Liverpool songsters’ ballad and it’s a classic OMD pop track which had been showcased in the live shows and even considered as a single. The track comes to a grinding halt and we are transported into the ephemeral world that surrounds the magical 'Souvenir' the first single off the album and indeed Paul Humphrey’s first vocals on an OMD single (“It’s my direction, it’s my proposal”). Again it’s trademark OMD sound in the making with the strong choral effects, driven along by the subtle drums and bass line not forgetting the catchy hook to create a song which lends itself so well as a 'slow one' on the dance floor and made for good radio-friendly listening. Typically the track had started out as something quite different and 'ambient' although was licked into shape by Humphreys and the by now permanent band member Martin Cooper. Things slow right down again as we move into side one's closer 'Sealand', an epic almost symphonic track, similar to ‘Stanlow’ on the previous Organisation, but was now fully blown out into this haunting seven minute long track, inspired by an RAF base near Liverpool yet taking it all a step further to create an atmosphere of some imaginary mythical place between land and sea, which somehow becomes a female spiritual figure, preparing the out and out religious theme of the two Joan of Arc entitled songs which open side two. The former is a more delicate soothing track slowly building up to a crescendo with McCluskey’s passionate vocal, while the second “Maid of Orleans” (later also named as “The Waltz Joan of Arc” to avoid confusion on the singles market) is pure unbridled passion with a stirring bagpipe style synth hook and military style drums. Only it’s experimental style introduction could have stopped it becoming a hit, but radio DJs across the board skilfully edited it to get straight into the listener-friendly whistle-along main tune and make it into a massive hit both at home and in
After all that religious fervour it’s back down to an almost inaudible opening on the title track (Architecture & Morality : the first time an OMD album had a title track) although again we are soon plunged into a constructivist world of bangs and crashes and electronic noises giving us the ‘architecture’ mixed with the monastical choral effects giving us the ‘morality’, as if to build a cathedral which must be at once practical but never lacking in its spiritual essence. It’s a very powerful piece. But as often happens on an OMD record things lighten up once more with the jaunty ‘
Listening to the album from start to finish was often an exhausting yet hugely satisfying experience. The album stirs up so many emotions: anger, joy, passion...you name it you feel it with this record. The band were justly rewarded as it remains their best selling and possibly strongest album to date.
The 2003 CD reissue features several extra tracks - a testimony of the sheer wealth of OMD’s output at the time: an extended version of Souvenir, which adds nothing to the original, although at the time was appreciated for its two B sides, a new, softer version of Organisation’s ‘Motion & Heart’ (recorded at Amazon and briefly considered as a single) plus the semi-instrumental ‘Sacred Heart’ a taster of the strong religious theme which was to come with the album. Religion, philosophy and science are all present in The Romance of the Telescope (an “unfinished” version), while ‘Navigation’ is again a mini-epic semi instrumental (the lyrics are famously and deliberately incomprehensible) in the style of Sealand. ‘Of All the Things We’ve Made’ features a rather sparser sound in contrast to the rich textures of much of the album, in fact this B side to Maid of Orleans would in fact crop up later in the next album. ‘Gravity Never Failed’ has a history all of its own: while written and recorded during the album sessions, and originally called Georgia, the track never saw the light of day until 1988 as a B side, a criminal waste although again it only goes to show how strong OMD's output was at the time.
The difficult third album test had been well and truly passed, the band enjoyed success, fame and international recognition as leaders on the new British music scene. After Architecture & Morality, it seemed as if OMD just couldn’t go wrong….