Rock GPA: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark [part 75]

Where will OMD go from here?

[continued from last post]

With their third modern album, OMD managed to debut on the UK album charts at an impressive #4 position. They cannily top loaded first week sales by running a Pledge Music presale which couldn’t have hurt in that regard. The band sold two of their recent live albums via the Pledge platform and  wisely got their feet wet prior to running a campaign with their thirteenth album. Of course, the album was off of the charts in just three weeks since that’s how it rolls in the 21st century if your name is not Adele or Ed Sheeran. They probably got to #4 with 6,000 copies sold. If that.

But if a modern OMD album had to make a popular splash, then “The Punishment Of Luxury” was a worthy choice. I found the album to be a strong outing with no weak tracks. Moreover, in the case of “Ghost Star,” I felt that the band had finally lived fully up to the potential I’d not seen from them since “Dazzle Ships.” I really felt that it was one of their best songs ever.

As for the modern desktop production, I had to admit that while sonically, soft synths just still sound thin and emaciated to these ears, Paul Humphreys had avoided the Digital Audio Workstation clichés that had sometimes hampered “History Of Modern.” And the overall sound design was more diverse than the too locked down “English Electric.” The writing of material was as strongly focused as “English Electric” had been, so there was no flagging on the creative side of things.

In every sense of the word, “The Punishment Of Luxury” sounded like OMD fully living up to their potential as much as they could, short of chucking the computers and working strictly on analog hardware, which I have given up all hope of ever happening. The live tour they mounted to take this one around the globe was the best OMD show I’d ever seen in 33 years of seeing them live. One hopes that with their new material gaining an audience, that maybe the day would come when they could chuck some of the flabby middle period songs that I [and maybe you, too] are sick of and just stick to the material that gives their legacy a good burnishing. As they said, they are not doing this for pocket money. But I suspect that the chances of that happening are as slim as a return to actual Mellotrons®.

For the status of OMD in 2018, I have to admit that the band was in a state of rude health. I feel that they have hit a really healthy plateau and can’t imagine them bettering their recent achievements… though I’d love to hear them try. The band aren’t saying one thing or another as they have capped their “Punishment Of Luxury” campaign with a number of Summer dates in Europe yet to happen.

OMD | Summer European Tour | 2018

SAT 30 JUNE | Lets Rock Exeter 2018 | Kenton, UK
SAT 7 JULY | Sommernachtstraum 2018 | Munich, Germany
SAT 21 JULY | Rewind Festival Scotland 2018 | Perth, UK
SAT 28 JULY | Amphi Festival 2018 | Cologne, Germany
SUN 29 JULY | Suikerrock 2018 | Tienen, Belgium
FRI 3 AUG | Kelvingrove Park | Glasgow, UK – SOLD OUT
SUN 5 AUG | Rewind North 2018 | Macclesfield, UK
SUN 19 AUG | Rewind Festival South 2018 | Henley-on-thames, UK
TUE 21 AUG | Zeltfestival Ruhr 2018 | Bochum, Germany
THU 23 AUG | Parkbühne Clara Zetkin Park | Leipzig, Germany
SAT 6 OCT | Liverpool Philharmonic Hall | Liverpool, UK – SOLD OUT
SUN 7 OCT | Liverpool Philharmonic Hall | Liverpool, UK – SOLD OUT
FRI 12 OCT – MON 15 OCT | Throwback – The 80’s Festival At Sea 2018 | Southampton, UK
SAT 2 MAR – SAT 9 MAR | 80’s Cruise 2019 | Fort Lauderdale, FL, US

The most significant of these dates are the pair in Liverpool on October to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. These are gigs with the Liverpool Philharmonic and the band have said that they will be airing usually unheard deep cuts and B-sides for these events. They have stated that they will definitely be performing my favorite song of theirs, the epic “Stanlow.” Would that I could attend such shows, but the cost is prohibitive in the extreme. In any case, they are sold out now. The last date above reveals that the band have a single date pre-booking next year on an… 80s Cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale next year, so they have that much planned ahead. While I have paid to see them open for Barenaked Ladies, [hey, it was practically in the backyard of my OMD lovin’ pals Elisa + Tom in Raleigh] even I have my limits.

The holy OMD tome we have been waiting for since we never got a copy of the earlier book, “Messages”

As the band are commemorating their 40th anniversary with a pair of special concerts, that is not the only activity on that front. They are also producing a coffee-table book on the band entitled “Pretending To See The Future” with the [elegant] cover mockup shown at right. The book is billed as an oral history of the band through its five primary members as well as any and all of it’s fans and other admirers. Any and all are encouraged to submit their photos and memories [which may be edited for length] to this email address:

The book is still in production with a suggested release date of November, 2018, so if you have the time to submit your tales, they are still receiving them. Memo to self: do it this weekend! Of course, the book will have the requisite rare photos etc. One assumes that it will be a hardcover event though the recent Pledge Music page for this book doesn’t say one way or another. The book will be published by Red Planet Books, but real OMD fans will want to buy into the Pledge Music campaign. Only copies pre-ordered through Pledge Music will come with further bait: a flexidisc of the previously unheard demo version of “Messages” recorded exactly 40 years ago in the garage/studio of their first manager Paul Collister before they had even formed picked a name. All well and good, you may say, but what will be the co$t? An appropriate £35/$46.48 plus shipping. I’m glad to see that the book is priced at a responsible rate for a [presumed] hard cover coffee table book on one of our core collection bands. If you want to pre order [and the book has topped Pledge Music’s “charts” for the last two weeks, so that assumes a lot of interest – 1142 pledgers as of right now], then click the banner below and have at it.

We otherwise conclude our OMD Rock G.P.A. only nine months older, and hopefully a little wiser as well. Join us for some zany, new, non-OMD coverage next Monday!

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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5 Responses to Rock GPA: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark [part 75]

  1. Echorich says:

    Bravo! Nine months seems to have passed by very quickly! But the subject matter made for a great continuous read.


  2. What a journey, but how nice that — for once — it ended with a full redemption!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – I find that with bands I really care for, more often than not, they do make it through the dark night of their soul to the other side of the rainbow. But even so a group like Simple Minds could backslide horribly with their acoustic album only to regroup and take it to new heights two years later. And then there’s Ultravox .


  3. Ross McL says:

    Hi, I stumbled across your blog while searching for the meaning of the title of the song Messerschmitt Twins. As a life-long OMD fan, I found the first blog I read very interesting, to the extent that I went back to the start of your GPA and have spent the last 3 days reading all 75 parts, mostly while re-listening to each of the songs you described.

    What a fantastic and enjoyable blog – thanks for taking the time to describe each song in so much detail and giving your opinions. I feel I have learnt so much more about the songs and the band. As you mentioned in one of the posts about how you used to listen to songs, in the past I rarely concentrated on the lyrics of any music, but doing so in the last few days has made the songs so much more interesting and I’ve re-evaluated my thoughts on some of them.

    As you’d probably expect, I don’t totally agree with all of your evaluations of the songs, but that’s what makes life interesting, however most of the time I found myself saying “wow, that’s exactly how I feel”, even if I hadn’t taken the time to think about specific songs before.

    I’m looking forward to the next chapter of the OMD story (let’s hope there is one) as well as your thoughts on it. In the meantime, since I’m also a fan of Ultravox, Numan and early Simple Minds, I’ll have a read of your other blogs too.


    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Ross McL – Welcome to the comments! If you like Simple Minds then strap yourself in and dig into the Rock G.P.A. I did for them. It’s even longer! Since we have a lot of congruence in taste you should find a lot to enjoy here at PPM. The regulars add a lot of choice commentary as well, so don’t hesitate to air your thoughts and opinions. After your first post is approved all subsequent posts are automatically approved, unless there’s a link in it, which I have to review first.


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