With the forthcoming tour dates announced and the OMD engine once again slowly grinding into action, here’s a glimpse of the artwork that’s going to be adorning OMD’s new album release (Note: the sample here is work-in-progress and not the final approved artwork).
English Electric will be OMD’s twelfth album release following on from 2010’s History Of Modern, which marked OMD’s return as recording artists. The title of the new album is inspired by the British industrial manufacturer and particularly their Deltic diesel train prototype. The distinctive blue and cream livery was also briefly considered as a design concept for the English Electric sleeve art. The new, revised concept appears to be drawing inspiration from the early Peter Saville/Factory design ethic with a nod also to OMD’s 1983 album Dazzle Ships. A die-cut sleeve option is being considered for the final release.
The album itself features songs that look at a theme of failed utopian dreams, which often result in dystopic failure and regret. The music is, in part, said to have taken influence from the Dazzle Ships album which utilised a lot of radio samples, sourced sounds and experimental works. The album at the time was judged to be a critical and commercial failure, but has more recently been reevaluated (not least by the band themselves) as a classic example of UK-based electronic music. Andy McCluskey has also commented that “There are a few tracks that are not ‘songs’. And many of the sounds are more simple and electronic than on History Of Modern“.
English Electric is said to also feature more involvement with Mal Holmes and Martin Cooper, particularly Mal according to Andy.
Tracks for English Electric include titles such as ‘Dresden’ (described by Andy McCluskey as “very OMD”), ‘Our System’ – a track inspired by a combination of Glitch and a ‘Stanlow’/’Romance Of The Telescope’-style sound, ‘Helen Of Troy’ – reckoned to be “‘Georgia’ meets first album Depeche”, ‘Decimal’ and ‘Atomic Ranch’, which uses programmed robotic voices. ‘Please Remain Seated’ will be the opening track for the album and a brief excerpt was previewed on the BBC Radio 6 Radcliffe and Maconie show earlier this year. ‘Metroland’ appears to be a return to the lengthier songs of OMD’s past as it clocks in at over 7 minutes. ‘The Great White Silence’ sees a return to the waltz time that was used so effectively on classic OMD song ‘Maid Of Orleans’ and is a track that Andy has described, in the context of OMD’s complete collection of songs, as “probably one of the saddest”. ‘Thank You’ (an old unused OMD song) is described as “the most aggressive and angry song that we have ever recorded”. Another track titled ‘Idea 3’ (following on from the History Of Modern-era tracks Idea 1 and Idea 2) is also under consideration for inclusion.
Three tracks are under consideration as possible singles: ‘Helen Of Troy’, ‘Night Cafe’ and ‘Dresden’.
In an interview with our sister site The Electricity Club, Paul Humphreys explained more about the genesis of the album: “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. And so I’ve been up to Liverpool loads. 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. We really had a mantra for this album which was “What does the future sound like?”… 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. We’ve also got a song called ‘Metroland’ which I think is going to be really fantastic”.
The tracklisting for English Electric so far looks like this (not necessarily in order):
- Please Remain Seated
- Our System
- Helen Of Troy
- Atomic Ranch
- Night Café
- No Man’s Land
- The Future Will Be Silent
- The Great White Silence
- Thank You
- Final Song
OMD are touring the UK and Europe in 2013 and ticket details are available here: https://omduk.ticketabc.com/promoter/omduk/
Messages extends its thanks to Andy McCluskey.
Official OMD Website:
By Paul Browne
15th December 2012
(Updated 17th December 2012)