OMD: History of Modern-Part 1, Talking Lound and Clear (Live)

OMD, the UK based new-wave pioneers and all around synth pop greats, debuted their first release way back in 1978 on Manchester’s renowned Factory Records. Their new album, The History of Modern – a slab of amped-up blood-rushing synth washes – is so good that it makes their storied back catalog obsolete – well, to me anyway. As with some of the recent Echo and the Bunnymen releases, OMD’s new one makes listening to their great back-catalog seem comparatively, and improbably, thin – that is, I am far more excited by their current work than their past, however good, work. This new album, number two on my 2010 best-of list, has all the great synth-based hooks of classic OMD, but refined and updated to create a whole new OMD synth frontier. With so many young bands lifting from OMD and their early new-wave peers, it must be a bit frustrating that the most forward sounding (at least while The Knife are MIA) keyboard based band in 2010/2011 is the one that pretty much defined the genre 30 years ago.

As a live act, OMD has enjoyed world-wide and wide-spread success with the exception being the US, hence their over 20 year absence. They apparently had no interest in lugging over their vintage keyboards to play small clubs. Based on inter-song banter before “Talking Loud and Clear” (see below) at their first US show in New York earlier this month, they were genuinely relieved that people bothered to show up at all and pretty much giddy that tickets sales were such that the show sold out even after a venue capacity upgrade. Andy McCluskey, lead vocalist and bassist, feared aloud during the show that they expected to take a $100k hit coming to the US. With the success of their US show, and with a string of shows at SXSW, OMD intends to make another go of the US in the fall with an expanded stage show.

To all the upstart keyboard based bands, be sure to go check out these shows to see how it should be done, and how keyboards are supposed to sound. I would go so far as to say that any keyboard purchase should come with mandatory OMD ‘How-To’ tutorial.

Here is a killer new track and an old gem as performed at OMD‘s recent New York show.

NYC Setlist:
New Babies: New Toys
Tesla Girls
Radio Waves
History of Modern (Part I)
If You Leave
Joan of Arc
Maid of Orleans
New Holy Ground
Talking Loud Clear
So in Love
Sister Marie Says
Seven Seas
Enola Gay

Milky Way

Download: History of Modern-Part 1 (Live)

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Download: Talking Lound and Clear (Live)

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