Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark -- or more simply, O.M.D. -- is Exhibit A in New Wave's final evolutionary leap toward synth-pop.
While many people had only just heard the Sex Pistols two years before O.M.D. released its first single, "Electricity," the song -- and the band, really -- were the product of a fermenting synthesizer culture dating back to '60s progressive rock and further-developed by '70s genres like Krautrock and disco as well as avant garde composers and the ever-experimenting, infinite punk tangents.
And like contemporaries Depeche Mode and Soft Cell, among others, O.M.D. applied its love of manipulable sound waves toward the ultimate goal of pop perfection.
O.M.D. sourced church organ drones and plucky piano keys once reserved for synthesizer interpretations of classical music, applying them to radio- and club-friendly pop anthems. The instrumental chorus melody on "Electricity" is right up there with those in New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" or Soft Cell's "Tainted Love."
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In 1985, O.M.D. achieved certain canonization in the '80s pop hall of fame for its Pretty in Pink tie-in single, "If You Leave." If John Huges and his suburban Middle American sagas epitomized Reagan-era youth culture, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark epitomized the soundtrack.
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (original lineup) with special guests, Washington and DJ Essential 6. Friday, September 16. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $25 plus fees via fla.vor.us. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com