Song of the Day, September 12: The New Stone Age by Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark

OMDA&MStoneToday’s song is The New Stone Age. When Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark entered the studio in late 1980, they were setting up for their third album in two years, following their successful eponymous debut and Top 10 sophomore masterpiece Organisation. Tired but inspired, they wanted to build on their distinctive mastery of electronic instrumentation. Now a quartet, they also wanted to continue their blending of live drumming and traditional rock instruments with that pioneering sound. The result was their lauded third album, Architecture and Morality, widely considered their most coherent set.

The opening track is a jarring surprise, the potent The New Stone Age. It opens with jagged guitar work, sounding nothing like earlier OMD. Writer Andy McCluskey has claimed — somewhat tongue in cheek — that he hoped some listeners would be convinced they had the wrong album in an OMD sleeve. Once the vocals kick in, however, it’s clear that this is a brilliant leap in OMD’s evolution, with McCluskey turning in a broken, anguished lead. Creaking samples and jittery synths join in, and by the end of just over three minutes, it’s clear that the band have found their perfect sonic balance. Anchored by a chorus cry of “Oh my God, what have we done this time?” it’s a flawless merger of sound and themes, making the most of a talented band at their creative best.

Enjoy this disturbing masterpiece today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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