I'd always been a fan of OMD even when john Hughes started putting them on his movies' soundtracks and they went all safe and poppy. Things were tested by the release of Pacific Age which although had a couple of good tracks on lacked any sense of experimentation and included the worst thing they had done , a "tribute" to us the fans called "we love you" which is as bad as it sounds. I gave up completely on the version of the band which was basically an Andy McClusky solo project.
However interest in the news of a new lp began to grow as press releases started talking of a return to the days of analogue synths and trying to recapture the mix of pop and experimentation of the early lps.
Everything seemed to be in place with the Peter Saville sleeve and the very OMD title. However music is of a moment and I knew deep down that trying to recreate something from 1982 would tread a thin line between recapturing glory and a tribute band and could easily come across as warmed up left overs.
So have OMD succeeded in marrying the future to the past ? Mostly yes - the lp opener comes out of the blocks fast and reminds me a bit of New Stone Age or Bunker Soldiers. There are lots of synth sounds that echo the early lps and in one track "Sister Mary Says" they come close to replicating the rush of catchiness of some of the early singles (apparently the song was originally written for the second p but was dropped as it was too similar to Enola Gay). Choral samples feature strongly , there is a fan's love letter to Kraftwerk in RFWK and in the title track they have recaptured the art of the song where the synth melody lines provide the chorus.
The lp also features 2 beautiful slow songs in "Bondage of Fate" and "The Right Side", which is 8 mins still doesn't outstay its welcome.
Where they don't quite get it right is with the modern not because the songs aren't good but largely because they feel they belong to another lp. "Sometimes" could be off a Moby lp and "The Future Past and Forever After" is a weird visit to Pet Shop Boys land but with not as good lyrics.
The 2 worst songs both sound like they were written by Andy McClusky for Atomic Kitten, the lead off single is ordinary in every way and the trancey "Pulse" is all moans and groans which assuming they are in their late 40s is a bit embarrassing (although the chanty chorus makes it my 8 year old sons favourite by a mile)
Despite this they have ended up with a really strong lp and if you liked them best at the time of Architecture and Morality then there is a lot here you will like
You can buy the lp here