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4.8 out of 5 stars
57
4.8 out of 5 stars
Architecture & Morality
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£5.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 3 August 2017
Bought it on tape when it came out in the early 80s. Great to hear it again. Good extra tracks. Brilliant
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on 22 May 2017
A brilliant album with some great extra tracks (and at a low, low price too!)
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on 7 September 2015
I have this album on vinyl but after hearing one of the songs from it on the radio recently, I had to buy the CD version. Listening to the familiar songs has taken me back years - in a good way!
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on 10 November 2017
Just for my collection
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on 20 April 2017
Best OMD album ever and still a favourite of mine even after over 30 years since original release.
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on 15 October 2015
amazing. many thanks
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on 6 April 2017
Brilliant album
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on 11 June 2007
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'?). 'Joan of Arc' is a gorgeous pop single, though it is the relative 'Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)' that seems more powerful, taking the ambient synths that are also found on 'Souvenir' and 'Sealand', prior to a huge classical synth motif and military drums whacked out by robots. The other single was the huge hit 'Souvenir', sung not by Andy McCluskey, but by Paul Humphreys who wrote it with Martin Cooper - more sublime pop perfection, the 'Extended Souvenir' is pretty similar, just a few extra words you might not require...

Things start more oddly with 'The New Stone Age', which has a minimal guitar sound (like Joy Division with banjos!), a metronomic drum machine and whoozy ambient drones as McCluskey sounds possessed, barking out the words: "Oh my god, what have we done this time?" The song goes into overload at the end, feeling like an advance on the Joy Division inflections of 'Organisation.' Following the dark opener, we get some more gorgeous electronic pop in the form of 'She's Leaving', which probably should have been a single - amusingly enough it would be ripped-off for 'Number One' by Goldfrapp, a band who are hip where OMD definitely aren't...

The centrepiece of the LP remains 'Sealand', which may or may not be a nod towards 'Seeland' by Neu! (OMD paid tribute to the Krautrock gods with b-side '4 Neu' a few years later), but advances on the 'Organisation'-epic 'Stanlow.' Just under eight-minutes in duration, it's a fan favourite and OMD at their most ambient, this direction would conclude with Dazzle-joys like 'International', 'The Romance of the Telescope', & 'Silent Running.' The title track predicts large aspects of the follow-up album, leading the way to the concluding tracks 'Georgia' (industrial electronic pop about a state of the Soviet Union, which like 'Enola Gay' sounds perky!) and 'The Beginning and the End' which blends Philip Glass-style minimal elements with guitar and percussion. Still great stuff, a definite perky LP and the choice OMD album (though I remain a 'Dazzle Ships' fellow myself).

The bonus tracks are another reason to buy this reissue, including a re-recorded 'Motion and Heart', tracks that would appear on 'Dazzle Ships' ('Romance of the Telescope', 'Of All the Things We Made'), and the fantastic 'Navigation', which would later give its title to a b-side collection of OMD works - one cd well worth tracking down.

Despite the later descent into stock 80s pop, session musicians and John Hughes soundtracks, OMD were once a great band, like Simple Minds, I tend to plump for the early stuff, picking only a handful of tracks after 1983. A key LP of the era, 'Architecture & Morality' feels as significant as 'Big Science', 'Dare!', 'Music for Parties', 'Non Stop Erotic Cabaret', & 'Penthouse & Pavement.' A key electronic album, even if Alan Partridge digs it!
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on 11 November 2008
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.

A&M was release at a time when British music was thriving, which is sadly why Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and this album tend to get overlooked in favour of bands like The Human League, Ultravox, Duran Duran, etc. It's a shame because as far as I'm concerned this album is far superior to the majority of material release around this time. OMITD wrote creative and inventive music that happened to be popular. They were putting their music before commercial interests, which is why I think A&M and their three other albums from this period [OMITD, Organisation and Dazzle Ship] have stood the test of time.

If you're interested in inventive, original music, then give this album a try. Don't let Andy McCluskey's developed love affair with cheap pop music put you off.
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on 8 March 2005
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'.
Indeed, it's one of very few pop songs to be in 6/8 time!
Apart from the superb singles, other highlights include 'Georgia' with its weird cassette machine voice tape and
'The Beginning and the End' which, aptly, closes the album.
Overall, Andy's voice is the central focus: subtle, expressive, powerful and clear, he articulates his lyrics with a great degree of confidence. The songwriting is totally spot-on and the tracks worked a treat live. Pure magic so buy it!
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