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Baker's Dozen

Souvenirs: Andy McCluskey Of OMD’s Favourite Albums
Ian Wade , April 8th, 2013 10:49

Andy McCluskey, one half of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, gives us the low down on his top 13 LPs

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Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark formed in 1978, after a couple of school friends – Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphries – attended a Kraftwerk show at the Liverpool Empire and decided then and there that they’d seen the future. So armed with a left handed bass, a few circuit boards and a drum machine named Winston, the duo soon signed to Factory (so far, so new wave Northern), and released the rather ace ‘Electricity’, and were soon asked to pale faced pop cyborg Gary Numan on tour.

Within a few years the duo were chart regulars, with an array of chorus-free but melody-laden gems such as ‘Joan Of Arc’, ‘Souvenir’ and ‘Maid Of Orleans’ regularly popping into the Top Ten, and in 1983 they released the slightly bonkers but deeply influential Dazzle Ships, which may not have sold much at all, but is held close to the hearts of Radiohead and Saint Etienne as well as a whole host of dance types. Alas no one noticed its strength at the time when it was seemingly nailed to the shelves, and so the duo set off on a more commercial direction playing to another of their strengths: pop nous. Not for nothing is their Best Of one of the greatest singles collections ever.

While Paul left and came back, Andy kept the OMD faith with a few more albums into the nineties, but come 1996 he’d had enough, so he went off and invented Atomic Kitten and wrote songs for other people. But by 2006 the pair were back together to tour Architecture & Morality as well as other earlier material, and also followed this up with the release of a new album, 2010’s History Of Modern, which went down rather well, and are now about to unleash the jolly tremendous English Electric in April.

We caught up with Andy during a whirlwind schedule of signings and radio promo to find out what albums make up his – and OMD’s – musical DNA.

OMD are off on tour in support of English Electric, beginning later this month; for more details head here. To begin scrolling through Andy's choices, click on the image below.

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Jan
Apr 8, 2013 1:51pm

'History Of Modern' was released in 2010...even wikipedia knows that. And I've never heard Radiohead mention 'Dazzle Ships' as influential. It has been called the 'Kid A' of the 80s. Maybe that's where your getting that from.

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Apr 8, 2013 3:54pm

In reply to Jan:

You sound nice, so it's only fair to respond:

1. Oh I'm sorry, what part of "But by 2006 the pair were back together to tour Architecture & Morality as well as other earlier material, and also followed this up with the release of a new album, 2010’s History Of Modern, which went down rather well, and are now about to unleash the jolly tremendous English Electric in April" was incorrect?

2. "Ned Raggett of AllMusic, in a positive review, opined that the album was an influence on the work of Radiohead". Sorry, that was on wikipedia. Obviously not looking properly. Or perhaps just putting Radiohead and Dazzleships into Google may answer that. Or even perhaps as a fan of both acts that one can see a connection between the experiments on Fitter Happier and then Kid A.

3. if you're going to be a pedant, then it's YOU'RE not YOUR

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Vinnie
Apr 8, 2013 4:04pm

I was so glad reading this article - the remark, something like "We were like schoolboys when the melody from Airwaves started." I totally get that sensation and yet, growing up, it becomes less and less frequent.

(tangent/) I'm glad OMD's 'off' period has already passed: I wish DM weren't so obsessed with still making 'pop' music. I'm quite excited for "English Electric", by the way. "Delta Machine" is just trying so hard, and I wish (DM) would just stop that. (When I see them on tour this summer, if they even played one song from A Broken Frame it would make me tear up like a teenager again. /end tangent)

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Apop
Apr 8, 2013 7:48pm

Bravo! Good list, great interview. Love the description of Unknown Pleasures as that was my way in to Joy Division - through the rhythms. My young brain wasn't prepared for Ian's voice but the bass and drum lines just dragged me - i had no choice. Wasn't until I'd put in a good chunk of listening and a few years of maturation that I finally 'got' Ian.

Takes a Dad to give the youngster a moment 'cos if blood's not involved you're taking a trip out the door (car moving or not)if you bring Limp Biscuit into my domain.

And yes indeedy, the 'schoolboys again' comment rings very familiar and true. Few moments better in life than the one when a song or album just kicks your ass and wrecks you. Good times, good memories.

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Apop
Apr 8, 2013 7:51pm

In reply to Apop:

"but the bass and drum lines just dragged me IN"...an important word I missed.

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Apop
Apr 8, 2013 7:54pm

Jan's never heard Radiohead mention 'Dazzle Ships' as influential and that's shocking 'cos apparently Jan HAS heard everything ever said by Radiohead. By the way Jan, that's an impressive feat, can I site that in Radiohead's wikipedia page?

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Tim
Apr 8, 2013 9:32pm

Good article - I think Winston was a tape recorder though, not a drum machine ..

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Apr 9, 2013 2:25am

Dazzle Ships >>>>> all Radiohead combined

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Crack
Apr 9, 2013 2:25am

I see I was responded to last time my inner spoon-fed whinger complained about having to click through 13 pages to read an article, and he's back. Some of us don't have access to high speed optic fiber internet or the very latest in laptop technology. Quietus's ad-heavy, graphic-heavy site usually takes around 20 seconds to load a page for me. That's 20 x 13 seconds of my valuable time you waste simply by not posting the article as one piece of text. I mean on good on you, it's your site, do what you want, and you will, but what's really misguided here is your notion that we readers thrill to the anticipation of wondering what the next page will reveal. "oh my god, McLusky likes La Dusseldorf!! Brbrbrbrb.... I'm SO excited, what's the next album gonna be???" Come on, an article's an article. Give it to us in one piece, or abuse me for whinging. Either's fine really.

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Crack
Apr 9, 2013 2:25am

I see I was responded to last time my inner spoon-fed whinger complained about having to click through 13 pages to read an article, and he's back. Some of us don't have access to high speed optic fiber internet or the very latest in laptop technology. Quietus's ad-heavy, graphic-heavy site usually takes around 20 seconds to load a page for me. That's 20 x 13 seconds of my valuable time you waste simply by not posting the article as one piece of text. I mean on good on you, it's your site, do what you want, and you will, but what's really misguided here is your notion that we readers thrill to the anticipation of wondering what the next page will reveal. "oh my god, McLusky likes La Dusseldorf!! Brbrbrbrb.... I'm SO excited, what's the next album gonna be???" Come on, an article's an article. Give it to us in one piece, or abuse me for whinging. Either's fine really.

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TheStrobe
Apr 9, 2013 8:10pm

I expected a little more electropop solidarity from Mr McCluskey. No Human League or Numan or Pet Shop Boys. Shame on him

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Jan
Apr 10, 2013 12:23am

In reply to :

Glad you fixed the error. Sorry if I came across as snotty. I usually don't make the you're/your mistake. Thanks for the great laugh over it.

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Apr 10, 2013 2:49am

In reply to Jan:

xxx

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GlasVegas?!
May 9, 2013 10:07pm

Snoooooooze four german records, three glam, and a lot of shitting on Americans. What a TOOL

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Radiohead sucks
Jun 22, 2013 7:01am

In reply to Jan:

Why would Radiohead admit to being influenced by a record they blatantly stole from? The first minute or so of "Genetic Engineering" was friggin' copied and pasted onto "Fitter Happier". Radiohead stole all their ideas, bloody overrated plagiarists that they are. "Fitter Happier" is "Genetic Engineering", My Iron Lung is "Heart Shaped Box", "Street Spirit" is "Fade to Grey", "Creep" is "The Air That I Breathe"...

Oasis with slightly better musicianship, that's all.

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Dr. Lawlzer
Jul 25, 2013 6:31pm

In reply to Radiohead sucks:

Radiohead are absolutely terrible. Just a mediocre band that the critics decided to jump on because it gave them a sense of elitism to say they were better than Oasis and Blur. Thom Yorke is one of the most pathetic "vocalists" of all time and Radiohead don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as OMD, one of the many, vastly superior bands they stole from.

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RADIOHEAD HEART OMD
Nov 2, 2013 2:14pm

Lol @ the Radiohead bashing (I quite like them). Thom Yorke, in a European TV interview from 1996, said he was a fan of Kraftwerk, Japan and OMD in his youth. He loved synth music and the New Romantic style and his early hairstyle was fashioned after that of Dave Sylvian. The video was on YouTube up until 2011/2012.

So Radiohead probably are fans of 'Ships'. IMO, you need only listen to the record to know that. Genetic Engineering practically = Fitter Happier, and McCluskey's vocal from 2:55 on International sounds UNCANNILY similar to Thom Yorke. You know, that loose, all-out live style on the bigger numbers.

And of course, the dancing.

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Nick Gallop
Feb 7, 2014 8:08pm

Now look here (adopts grumpy old park warden persona), this is not a pop at Andy per se. But. Can the nice people at The Quietus ask nicely to all future Bakers Dozen contributors that some of your readers could do with knowing that they've listened to and indeed appreciated albums other than by Bowie, Eno, Joy Division and Kraftwerk. In yesteryear such artistic "ooh Bowie, ooh Hansa, ooh evocative per-reunification Germanic angst" talk might have improved ones chances of scoring with that pretty art college student but really, this is 2014 for goodness sake! Otherwise, can you just get the next contributors to lie profusely and sprinkle in a few different ones such as, ooh lets see, Fad Gadget, XTC, Gerry Rafferty, Einsturzende Neubauten (with correct spelling), Emerson Lake & Palmer, Robert Palmer, Farmer Palmer (alright I made that one up), Prince, Queen, King (well someone must have), yadda yadda etc. Variety is the spice of life. Reading reviews of the same dozen albums again and again, isn't.

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