Wednesday, March 9, 2011


OMD. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark for those of you not in the know.  This review is a bit different in that it’s re-visiting sounds from back in the day through a current live concert featuring that band and those songs from back in the 80’s.  OMD played melodic whimsical synth pop back then and they still do, having not played in the US for over 13 years or more, they opted to pull out the hits from the 80’s.  I remember having the "best of" recorded on a cassette and I’m fairly certain after opening with a new song which sounded just like the old songs, they played the entire album.  The high energy songs worked really well, the slower stuff which is basically the high energy stuff played slower opened the gates for boredom to set in.   These are the sounds of early 80’s Prom and movies starring Molly Ringwald which generally take place at the Prom or some other school dance.  I mean these are pleasant songs and the opening act Oh Land reminded me of how much worse synthpop could be and seeing a member of Freezepop in the audience then made me realize how much worse it could go from there and made me think at least I was grateful for seeing synthpop done well.  But even synthpop done well has its drawbacks.  Keyboard players like laptop musicians are just boring to watch, it’s sort of like a soundtrack to somebody doing their taxes or writing a paper or checking their email. Because all of these sounds going direct and how that doesn’t lend itself for variance,  it sometimes comes across like you’re just listening to the CD played through a PA system.   The boredom starts to set in as a result and they don’t help matter by moving into their slow jams around this point.  Back in the day I would fast forward the cassette over these songs but I was stuck.  The audience and even the band made me feel like I was at a board meeting or a  corporate function, the skinny ties the band were wearing didn’t help matters.   So my conclusion: synthpop is pleasant yet still boring after all these years.  Here’s to the future! 


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