Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings
Positive: 8 out of 8
Mixed: 0 out of 8
Negative: 0 out of 8
Review this album
May 6, 2013It continues to be exciting to see and hear this classic electronic/synth-pop band making new music again after their surprising 2006 reunion, bringing together, for the first time since 1989, the classic line-up of Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes. After a successful 2007 tour, where they spotlighted their 1981 masterpiece (and still generally considered their best album overall), "Architecture and Morality", they went into the studio and in 2010 released the first OMD album since 1996, and the first with the classic line-up since 1986's "The Pacific Age". That album was titled "History of Modern", and it was one of my favorite albums of 2010. I thought the album was a wonderful and eclectic collection of all of OMD's creative phases from their eponymous 1979 debut to 96's "Universal". Some fans were a little underwhelmed by this approach to coming back, and, admittedly, "History of Modern" does evince a lack of cohesion style-wise and lyrically speaking, especially in terms of the seeming narrative thread suffused through most of the album; and that's why the singles "If You Want It", "Sister Marie Says" (an actual 1991 throwback/outtake from the "Sugar Tax" sessions) tend to stick out thematically and sound-wise. Then there's also the very non-OMDish, "Pulse", which sounds like someone else's tune. However, I really liked the track, regardless, and thought it was one of the catchier songs on the album. But the real highlights on "History of Modern" were the tracks that stuck to the main narrative flow like the two-part title-tracks and "The Right Side", "Bondage of Fate", "New Babies: New Toys", "The Future, The Past, and Forever After", "RFWK" (OMD's homage to one of their biggest influences, Kraftwerk) and "New Holy Ground".
Now with the new album, "English Electric", the band has jettisoned the more synth-pop aspects of the previous album for a much more overt Kraftwerkian electronic sound and theme that comes off like a 1939 New York World's Fair revisited with accompanied "come-down" of the future's optimistic possibilities. Some have compared "English Electric" with 1983's "Dazzle Ships", and I'm inclined to agree, though I feel the new album isn't quite as adventurous and groundbreaking as the former album was; and understandably so seeing as there's a thirty-year gap between those particular albums. Also, the new album has a pronounced dystopic feel to it, where as "Dazzle Ships" was more optimistic about the future, which is also understandable given what has transpired in the ensuing years, especially since the millennium. Overall, I'd say that even though "English Electric" is the more cohesive of the two albums, between it and "History of Modern", I still prefer the latter by a few degrees, because I think its best songs are better than "English Electric's" best ones; and though I DO certainly "like" the new album, it doesn't really bring anything new to the proverbial table musically speaking, whatever its good points on display here. Still, I really like, and ultimately agree with, its less than optimistic view of the present and coming future. I definitely look forward to what OMD comes up with next time round, but I do hope it's a little more progressive whatever it may be.… Expand