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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


Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express
Radio-Activity is quite primitive. I mean I love its beautiful primitive nature. It’s rather gorgeously naïve. Trans-Europe Express is really a huge leap on from the slightly naff sounding drums they’d built themselves. Suddenly – it’s really quite punchy – it’s no surprise it inspired a lot of the hip hop guys in New York, because it punches hard. So to me Trans-Europe Express is the apex, that’s where they peaked. Everything on that album is brilliant. I would’ve so dearly loved to have seen them perform ‘Franz Schubert’ live at the Tate, but I just thought we were being greedy going to two – Autobahn and Radio-Activity – because there was such a hoo ha about tickets. Ralf has got it just about as far away from rock & roll as he can get it, and now you watch them you think: “Yeah, he will finally get his dream – Kraftwerk will continue to tour even when he’s no longer on stage.” It will either be four other people, or they’ll just put the robots on stage. Technology now gives you so much, you don’t need the people anymore. After this album they started to distil their ethos to the point where – strange as it may seem as we’re talking about Kraftwerk – the project lost its humanity. I mean, ‘Spacelab’ and ‘Metropolis’ are empty shells, and those two songs show to me the ideological vacuum that Ralf was heading for. That’s his style, that’s what he wants and I can’t criticise him for it. It just doesn’t register anymore with me. In the same way as when Bowie changes his style, it may resonate with other people, but it doesn’t resonate with me. It does of course have my favourite ever, ever, ever, ever Kraftwerk song which is ‘Europe Endless’. That sequence just wanders in from nowhere and I’m gone, I’m melted. Roll me onto my back and I’ll let them tickle my tummy.