History of Modern
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
History of Modern is the title for the 11th studio album by British synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). It is their first album since 1996, and the first album featuring the classic 4-piece line-up since 1986's The Pacific Age. The album was released in the UK on 20 September 2010. The album will be released in the US on Bright Antenna on 28 September 2010.The artwork was conceived by Peter Saville and designed by Four23. The title was thought of by lead singer Andy McCluskey after he took his daughter to an art exhibition called 'The History of Modernism'.
A free download demo track taken from the album called "Sister Marie Says" was released on 25 November 2009. Elements of the song were originally composed in 1981 and a reworked version of the track was due to appear on the 1996 album Universal but got shelved because it sounded too much like early OMD and was out of step with the more reflective tone of Universal.
The second song to be played from the album was "History of Modern pt.2". The song was played on 31 May 2010 on BBC 6 Music, the title of the song was revealed on the shows web page a week before the broadcast. In an interview during the show the band confirmed the album would have two songs named "History of Modern" on it and plans to change the name of the one of the songs to "The Big Bang Theory" had apparently been scrapped. The first single from the album, "If You Want It", was released on 6 September 2010.
Many of the songs had been written and demoed by Andy McCluskey prior to OMD's official reformation, announced at a fan gathering in April 2005. Contributions by the remaining members were made in between other commitments. "New Holy Ground" was originally written by McCluskey and Paul Humphreys in 2008 as an extra track for an EP which was later shelved. Humphreys also co-wrote "Green" and "History Of Modern (Part II)".
Samples are prevalent towards the end of the album. "Pulse" contains a sample from "Pulse" by Brother and Sister, "Bondage of Fate" samples Hannah Peel's "Organ Song", while the closing track "The Right Side?" contains a sample from "Looking Down on London" by fellow Kraftwerk enthusiasts, Komputer.
"Sometimes" features Jennifer John, who provided backing vocals on "Oil For the Lamps of China" and "Promised the World" by The Listening Pool, the band formed in the wake of OMD's original split in 1989 by Paul Humphreys with Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes.
"RFWK" is a homage to childhood heroes Kraftwerk and its initials comprise the first letter of each of the classic 4-piece line-up's forenames (Ralf, Florian, Wolfgang and Karl).
"The Future, The Past and Forever After" began life as "Wheels of Steel", a track originally considered for inclusion on the Sugar Tax album.
"Sister Marie Says" was part-written in 1981 and later recorded during the sessions for 1996's Universal album. It was subsequently dropped from the album and didn't get its first public airing until the OMD Event in 2005. The track has been revamped for the new album.
The track "Pulse" features backing vocals by former members of Genie Queen, including Abigail Clancy.
Bar three tracks, the album was mixed by Mike Crossey, who has worked for the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Foals and Razorlight.
The album was originally going to include "Save Me", a mash-up of OMD's "Messages" and Aretha Franklin's "Save Me", but it will be included as a bonus track on the US release only.
Special edition box sets of the album will also include a double vinyl LP, a DVD book pack and a CD of album demo tracks
All songs written and composed by OMD (except where stated).
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "New Babies: New Toys" 3:52
2. "If You Want It" 4:45
3. "History of Modern (Part I)" 4:41
4. "History of Modern (Part II)" 4:13
5. "Sometimes" 3:46
6. "RFWK" 3:46
7. "New Holy Ground" 3:42
No. Title Writer(s) Length
8. "The Future, The Past, and Forever After" 4:52
9. "Sister Marie Says" 4:00
10. "Pulse" OMD/Remee/Cutfather and Joe 3:42
11. "Green" OMD/Stuart Kershaw 4:17
12. "Bondage of Fate" OMD/Hannah Peel 4:06
13. "The Right Side?" OMD/Leonard/Baker 8:20
US bonus track
No. Title Length
14. "Save Me" (Contains vocals by Aretha Franklin from original recording of "Save Me" on Atlantic Records) 3:08
B-sides and other tracks
"Alone" - B-side to digital download and CD versions of "If You Want It" single.
"Idea 1" - B-side to limited edition 7" vinyl single of "If You Want It".
The Idependent says
The first shock about this comeback album from that most Futurist of bands is that it begins with the sound of a dirty great guitar, quickly followed by the sweary couplet “There’s no heaven, there’s no hell/ Cream will float, but shit will sell”.
The second, which endures a lot longer, is that History of Modern isway better than it has any right to be, with Paul Humphreys producing plenty of massive, euphoric synth melodies for Andy McCluskey to dad-dance to with abandon.
The aptly titled ‘History Of Modern’, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s first release in fourteen years, is a must-have for fans of the iconic synth-pop foursome. The fifty-eight minute runtime aside, co-founder Andy McCluskey reckons the album is OMD’s finest hour since ‘Architecture And Morality’. While songs ‘Bondage Of Fate’, ‘If You Want It’ and ‘Sometimes’ present a classic vibe, standalone track ‘Pulse’ is equally akin to the electronic sound of today. Nice touch.
Join our FREE mailing list and get news and updates for Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark fans.