This album must be a contender for the ultimate 80's electronic album.. as a group omd never reached the heights of some of their contemporaries, but still managed to leave a legacy of genius. Architecture and Morality was the pinnacle of omd's early work; a combination of elements that uniquily identifies omd as the artist. Brooding and majestic, creative and beautiful. 2011 will be the albums 30th anniversary, one that still sounds as fresh and inspiring as it did back in 1981.. omd we salute you
There is that certain something here that captures the essence of the time; a reflection of a shift in culture and politics; technology and hope; this was the future. Like their hero's Kraftwerk constructed a future classic in a modern style, an astonishing feat. On this album OMD give us the pop and majesty in one, a concept album, but not quite, familiar threads that weave the listener into the texture and message of the music...
This is what 80's music was really about... not the over the top fashion and image. Some of us could have fun, and be serious at the same time ha ha...
The tour for this album was the first time I saw OMD live, and my first gig.. so a really special time.. the gig was at Sophia Gardens Pavillion in Cardiff, 29/11/1981.. I remember queuing out side as snow stared to fall, hearing the sound check of Romance of the Telescope.. pure joy...
This was the penultimate gig at this venue.. shortly after an Ozzy show the roof collapsed under the weight of snow.. no one there at the time..
Architecture and Morality.. memories are made of this
On this excellent album the melody is more important than the beat as OMD takes their synth-pop into serious territory on classics like the majestic Joan Of Arc, the wistful Maid Of Orleans, the somber Sheâ€™s Leaving and the powerful New Stone Age. Itâ€™s all held together by evocative ethereal pieces, creating a very cohesive sound sculpture. The use of a live drummer enhances the overall sound, adding a welcome human touch to the albumâ€™s sometimes bleak and desolate textures. This is definitely their best album and a masterpiece of intelligent and moving synth-pop.
This is arguably OMDs best album in that it is listenable and easy on the ear to the pop fan but still has that quirkyness that was apparent throughout their career. Born out of the late 70s Liverpool scene , but sounding quite different from their peers like Echo & The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes and Mighty Wah! The big hit Enola Gay (after a few minor hits including one about a telephone box in Meols on the Wirral !!! - I said they were quirky) first brought them to national attention. This album is very much in that vain and includes the wonderfully pretty "Souvenir",and excellent hits "Joan Of Arc" And "Maid of Orleans". "She's Leaving" is an album track that probably would have been a single had it been on any other record. "The Beginning and the End" is also a good example of experimenting but not betraying pop sensibility....Sealand (possibly about an area not far from their Wirral homeland near Chester) is one of OMDs weird tracks but still listenable. But that was always the problem with OMD. They could never decide whether they wanted to be like Abba and craft those perfect melodies or experiment with soundscapes and noise. This is OMD at their most commercial and accessible...other than the Greatest Hits which should be your introduction to the band ,this is their Sgt Pepper. An almost perfect 'electropop' album in line with 'Dare' by the Human League and very reminiscent of the last 'Golden Age' of pop before sampling and rap left us without much originality.
A & M has become a classic album from the 80's. The imaginative and cutting edge use of sound by OMD was well ahead of it's time, and it has been tough for them to equal that initial triumph. An album that brings the memories of the decade flooding back........
I got into OMD through their 'Electricity' single, which I played for weeks before pouncing on their debut album, perforated sleeve and all. Though I didn't carry on buying their records, I was always interested in hearing their singles, as they never seemed to repeat themselves. The same is true of their album tracks, as much here as on their debut. The difference is that the debut has the lo-fi charm of a band recording on a budget, whereas, by the time of 'A. and M.', their third effort, they had more resources at their disposal. Even so, they don't play safe.
And how many artists could score three hits with such an uncommercial approach? OMD were unpredictable yet accessible. Among a welter of synth- dominated outfits, they thrived despite not wanting to be seen. There were no attention-seeking haircuts and they didn't write about themselves. No tales of teenage angst, instead an oblique, misty love song ('Souvenir') and two songs about a long dead historical heroine, all containing odd, long intros.
As for the other tracks, not for OMD the opening track with the irresistible hook, instead some intriguing percussion and guitar that sounds like a demented George Formby ('New Stone Age'). The title track, meanwhile, sounds like the ultimate in blank music, yet makes compelling listening. The bonus tracks add a great deal to this release and fit in with the overall sound. 'Motion And Heart' reveals that the band can swing a bit too. The sleevenotes confirm the band's penchant for a choral quality at the time, giving the album a more ethereal feel. 'Architecture And Morality' is one of the best albums of the 1980s.
'Architecture & Morality' is deservedly one of the classic albums of the very early Eighties and for me it is the quintessential OMD-album and the one to get if you like electronic music and have missed out on this band.
Although OMD did not possess the amount of pop sensibility as contemporaries Depeche Mode and (latter) The Human League, 'Architecture & Morality' does have a fine selection of great, almost timeless pop songs: 'Souvenir' is as obvious a single as any and the similar-titled 'Joan of Arc' and 'Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)' are both great tunes; the latter turns up regularly on Eighties compilations. As said by another reviewer, 'She's Leaving' should indeed have been a single as it is a marvellous track.
Elsewhere the album is slightly more inaccessible and somewhat reminds me of for instance The Human League's 'Travelogue', although 'Architecture & Morality' is markedly colder sound-wise.
And speaking of sound, not all tracks have aged as well as other albums from the same period, but that can hardly be expected of an album this old.
This is one to get - a collection of electronic music would be incomplete without it.
A good third album from this eighties experimental pop band, and probably recognised as their overall best. More polished than the first two it kicks off with the very experimental and noisey "New Stone Age" showing that they weren't just a pop band. Followed by the very poppy and melodic "She's Leaving" and then the hit "Souvenir" you soon see the band had found comfort in the range of material they were producing. Some of the tracks are long minimalist pieces, especially the title track, while others bop along happily. The bonus tracks are a good selection of b-sides and alternate versions, giving further insight into OMD's experiments, but don't gel together with the rest of the album. They do feel like bonus tracks.
If you've not got into 80s electronic music before, this is a pretty good example of the more accessible side. Team it up with Gary Numan's "Telekon", Nash The Slash "Children Of The Night", Human League's "Dare" or "Travelogue", Cabaret Voltaire "Voice of America" & "Crackdown", and Throbbing Gristle's "20 Jazz Funk Greats" and you would have yourself a good eclectic starting point.
An excellent re-release of the classic OMD album. Not only do you get the original album remastered, you get seven bonus tracks some of which appeared as B sides on the original singles releases. What makes this package very special though is the DVD - The main feature is the live concert from the album tour back in 1981 (this was released on VHS many years ago but is no longer available). Also included are two promo videos and a Top of the Pops appearance showcasing the three singles from the album, Souvenir, Joan of Arc and Maid of Orleans. Its interesting to compare this concert with the recently released DVD 'Live Architecture & Morality & More' from the aniversery tour last year. In Summary, an excellent must have album boosted by the rare bonus tracks and completed with a live performance. A 'must have' and excellent value for money.