"these are the little children, the future in their hands..." - Genetic Engineering
It's here at last..or rather I got it at last. 25 years and 4 weeks after the original vinyl LP issue I finally got the remastered CD version of Dazzle Ships by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. So much has been written about it over the past few years, mostly in the 'unrecognised work of genius' sense, and now at last it seems to be getting the recognition it deserves.
I can't begin to describe the effect this album had on me back then - I'd been a fan since their first album, or rather since the I heard their first single Electricity some time in 1979. I searched high and low for that first album (although regrettably to this day do not have the die-cut sleeve) and became more and more involved with the men and their music as the months and years of my angst-ridden youth went by. Architecture & Morality turned out to be their commercial zenith, and in my mind could only be followed up by a complete change in direction..and it was. (That seemed to happen a lot in 1983, see also ABC beauty Stab and New Order's Blue Monday / Power Corruption and Lies). My only crtique of OMD's oeuvre was that it was too short..i couldn't get enough of it and wanted more. needless to say they were hammered commerically and critically and came back a year later with the more standard pop of the aptly titled Junk Culture, which managed to re-establishtheir intelligent pop songs with an eye on the irony...the rest is junk history.
Dazzle Ships stands as a monument to world of technology of the past, present and future. Found sounds and musique concrete are turned into moving melodies (Time Zones, ABC Auto Industry), social comment into pure pop (Radio Waves, Genetic Engineering). and we are still moved by OMD's stirring ballads (International, The Romance of the Telescope). If you like, a re-interpretation of Kraftwerk's Radioactivity bringing the ideas and sounds bang up to date.
But it was too much for the punters who were edging on new pop: Duran Duran and Culture Club were already on the up while Gary Numan, John Foxx et al were already on the wane.
So take the time to buy or download and listen to this newly polished masterpiece.
Dazzle Ships minisite