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Architecture And Morality

Architecture And Morality

11 Jun 2009
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 11 Jun. 2009
  • Release Date: 11 Jun. 2009
  • Label: Eagle Rock
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:07:30
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B002D5NJI0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,564 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Despite the tragic association with the second series of Alan Partridge, which has helped assist a snobbish response to O.M.D. by default, I feel the need to defend the band mostly known as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. 'A&M' took its title from a book entitled 'Morality & Architecture', the title suggested by Martha Ladly once of Martha & the Muffins and later associated with the Associates. The title fits perfectly the brilliant cover from Peter Saville Associates, who designed the majority of their sleeves (many of these are in an excellent book on Saville, well worth tracking down).

This version of 'A&M' is an extension of the extended/remaster from a few years ago, the major addition being the second disc which has DVD elements (video/live), mostly culled from a performance at Drury Lane. This is the deluxe version of the best-selling OMD album, one the fan's will have to get - if you're less certain, plump for the single disc remastered version which has all the b-sides/bonus tracks. I am one of the few who are hoping their masterpiece, 1983's 'Dazzle Ships' gets the same treatment.

The original nine-track LP is pretty perfect, advancing on the promise of the previous two albums and proving that the perfect pop of 'Enola Gay' was no one-off (which some might think when hearing the bleak electronic soundscapes of 'Organisation'). There is subversive pop, akin to 'Enola Gay', the subject this time being Joan of Arc, a figure who has been read in many ways (perhaps they had just overdosed on 'The Passion of Joan of Arc'?).
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Format: Audio CD
Calling OMITD's music "synth pop" doesn't do their music and this album justice; A&M is not Depeche Mode or the Human League! Okay, so the band used synthesisers but these were not the only instruments of their trade; as far as I'm concerned, it wasn't about what instruments they used but how they used them that gave their music that unique appeal.

A&M is a beautiful combination of synths, guitars, drums, sampled sounds and effects, bringing together OMITD's experimental and commercial sides. The album is an event, brimming with ideas. There's the frantic guitar on the opening track 'New Stone Age'. There's the gorgeous melody of 'Souvenir', and it's choral tapes. There's Andy McCluskey singing falsetto on 'Joan of Arc', providing that memorable haunting feeling. There's Malcolm Holme's distinctive drumming - one minute very minimal and dramatic as in 'Sealand', the next very rythmic as in 'Maid of Orleans'. There's the radio samples used brilliantly in 'Georgia'. There's the musical collage of the title track, consisting of the beautiful Mellotron Choir sound that builds to a dramatic climax. And what about the final song 'The Beginning and the End' that makes me want to start the album all over again.

The extended version contains additional tracks, mainly from their B-Sides. Sadly, and I don't know why, but the fantastic track 'Navigation' has been chopped at the end - which idiot made that decision? You'll have to buy Navigation (the B-Sides album) for the full version of this track. The DVD from the 1981 A&M tour is also a must. The production values are far better than the awful DVD from the A&M tour 2007.
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Format: Audio CD
This was the album that saw OMD break through to the wider commercial world.
The first two albums - OMD and Organisation - set up the shop for business with some superb songwriting. Songs like Messages, Electricity, Julia's Song, Enola Gay, Promise and Stanlow. Go and see for yourself! If the first two albums set the shop up, A & M well and truly opened it for business.
The musical climate of 1981 was changing. The spring had seen a crop of new British synth-based bands start to crossover to the mass appeal market. Synthdom was breaking out of the radiophonic workshop and laboratory and into the charts big-style. OMD had already started to pick up a formidable reputation, a support slot on Gary Numan's debut headlining tour in the autumn of 1979 providing the Birkenhead duo with a valuable shop window. Bassist/vocalist Andy McCluskey and synthesist/vocalist Paul Humphreys were already hitting their stride and the years 1979-85 saw them at the top of their game.
Recruiting help in the form of Martin Cooper (synths, sax, bass) and Malcolm Holmes (drums, electronic percussion), they duly took their material out live, with this line-up proving durable enough to last for several more albums.
'The New Stone Age' kicks the album off with Andy McCluskey's thrashed guitar and emotional vocal before they usher in the sublime pop of 'She's Leaving'. 'Architecture & Morality' spawned three stunning singles: the gentle but quirky 'Souvenir' (sung by Paul), the sheer craft of 'Joan of Arc' and then the almost atonal meeting between classic electronic pop and musique concrete in 'Maid Of Orleans'. As the two songs concerned Andy's obsession with the French maid who was burned at the stake, the latter was given the subtitle 'The Waltz Joan of Arc'.
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