Back in July, he told The Electricity Club: “Andy and I are really excited by ‘English Electric’. We’ve really gone to another level from ‘History Of Modern’ which was too much remote work. We realised we don’t work very well passing files back to each other; we work best when we sit in a room together….what we’d do is flesh out the ideas together and then we’d both take parts back to work on separately. But the spark of this record is us sitting together in a room”.
This is a very positive step away from its predecessor ‘History Of Modern’ which comprised of OMD recordings dating as far back as 1991 and disparate unreleased tracks from Andy McCluskey’s various female protégées ATOMIC KITTEN, GENIE QUEEN and LUCY STILES alongside the first new material composed by the band’s original nucleus of Humphreys and McCluskey for many years. While ‘History Of Modern’ contained several outstanding tracks such as ‘Green’, ‘New Babies; New Toys’ and ‘New Holy Ground’ which proved OMD are still very capable, overall the album was below expectations. The dreadful comeback single ‘If You Want It’ was a particular low point while a dance mash-up consisting of the classic ‘Messages’ and a lesser known ARETHA FRANKLIN track entitled ‘Save Me’ was confusingly used to launch the album.
Of ‘English Electric’, Paul Humphreys confirmed: “We’re pushing boundaries. There is a song called ‘Night Café’ which is like ‘She’s Leaving’ meets ‘Souvenir’ and lovely. The album’s a little bit more musical than ‘Dazzle Ships’ but it is ‘Dazzle Ships’ for the 21st Century in a sense because it’s not just a collection of songs. The album is themed although it’s not a concept album. There are sections that maybe only last a minute and a half, there’s pieces that are three minutes and nine minutes as well.”
Titles that have circulated so far range from computer voiced sound collages like ‘Please Remain Seated’ and ‘Atomic Ranch’ to emotive electronic pop such as ‘Metroland’, ‘Dresden’ and ‘Helen Of Troy’. ‘Helen Of Troy’ could well be a successor to the classic pair of songs featuring another long deceased female historical figure Joan Of Arc. Humphreys added: “Who knows if there is going to be another OMD album after this? Maybe there will but if this was to be our last album and I have to think in these terms now, I want to leave an album that is really special. And I think ‘English Electric’ has a good chance of being that album. I’m really happy with it.”
The UK tour runs from 28th April to 14th May 2013. So with the braver approach being taken with ‘English Electric’, perhaps a far more adventurous live set may be attempted to remind observers why OMD have been one of the key innovative pioneers in electronic pop.
Meanwhile, European dates will be unveiled in due course.
OMD 2013 ‘English Electric’ UK tour dates include:
Margate Winter Gardens (28th April), Birmingham Symphony Hall (29th April), Nottingham Royal Centre (1st May), Ipswich Regent Theatre (2nd May), London Roundhouse (3rd May), Bristol Colston Hall (5th May), Oxford New Theatre (6th May), Sheffield City Hall (8th May), Leeds Academy (9th May), Manchester Academy (10th May), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (12th May), Gateshead Sage (13th May), Liverpool Empire (14th May)
A limited number of Platinum and Gold VIP packages will also be available for each venue, please visit www.omd.uk.com for more details. Tickets go on sale at 9.00am on Friday 14th December 2012.
Text by Chi Ming Lai
10th December 2012