Architecture & Morality

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Architecture & Morality
Omd architecture.jpg
Studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Released 8 November 1981 (1981-11-08)[1]
Recorded 1980–1981 at The Gramophone Suite, Liverpool and The Manor Studio, Shipton-on-Cherwell[1]
Genre Electronic, experimental, synthpop
Length 37:13
Label Dindisc, Virgin
Producer Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Richard Manwaring and Mike Howlett
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark chronology
Architecture & Morality
Dazzle Ships
Singles from Architecture & Morality
  1. "Souvenir"
    Released: 4 August 1981[2]
  2. "Joan of Arc"
    Released: 9 October 1981[2]
  3. "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)"
    Released: 15 January 1982[2]
  4. "She's Leaving"
    Released: 1982 (Benelux only)[3]

Architecture & Morality is the third album by the British synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, released in 1981. It became a commercial and critical success, selling over 4 million copies[4][5] by early 2007 and being hailed as the band's seminal work.[a] Its associated singles – "Souvenir", "Joan of Arc", and "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)", a retitled "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)" – were international hits, selling more than 8 million copies combined.[9][10] A more ambitious and downbeat affair than prior releases, Architecture & Morality is widely regarded as one of the greatest electronic albums of the 1980s, with some publications hailing it as one of the best records ever made.[11]

Album information[edit]

According to the album's credits, its title was suggested to the band by Martha Ladly, formerly of Martha and the Muffins, after the 1977 book Morality and Architecture by David Watkin.[1]

Musically, the album was notable for making liberal use of the mellotron, a mechanical tape-replay keyboard more commonly associated in Britain with progressive rock bands of the early 1970s than with the synthpop of the 1980s.

The tenth through sixteenth tracks of the remastered album are bonus tracks and were B-sides from the album's three singles, except "Gravity Never Failed" which was out-take from the album sessions, originally intended to have been a single A-side, but not released until 1988, as the B-side of "Dreaming".

Remixes of "The Romance of the Telescope (Unfinished)" and "Of All The Things We've Made" appeared on OMD's next album, Dazzle Ships, released in 1983.

All of the album's songs were included in the first part of the setlist on OMD's 2007 comeback tour.


The artwork was produced by Peter Saville and Brett Wickens. Architecture & Morality was released several times with varying artwork, most notably in yellow, blue and grey but even green versions are available. The original cover from 1981 is light yellow/orange in a die-cut sleeve.


Architecture & Morality yielded three singles, all of which charted in the UK Top 5: "Souvenir" (#3), "Joan of Arc" (#5), and "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" (#4), a retitled "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)". The singles were also highly successful on international charts, with "Souvenir" and "Maid of Orleans" each charting at number one in various European countries; the latter became Germany's biggest-selling single of 1982.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[13]
BBC (favourable)[14]
The Cavalier Daily (B+)[15]
Daily Record 5/5 stars[16]
Melody Maker (unfavourable)[17]
Pitchfork Media (8.7/10)[18]
Q 5/5 stars[19]
Record Mirror (favourable)[17]
The Quietus (favourable)[20]
Record Collector 5/5 stars[21]

Initial critical reaction to Architecture & Morality was mixed. "We didn't think it got the respect it deserved", said McCluskey. "We put a lot into it and we really loved it...anything which undermines our own unstable balance creates a problem for us."[22] Lynden Barber in Melody Maker annihilated the album. He wrote: "I don't believe the Orchs [OMD] even care about this record...the style is the same, the content profoundly different, the onslaught of emptiness, frivolity disguised by furrowed brows, a new brand of meaninglessness."[17] In his review for The Cavalier Daily, Brad Scharff applauded Architecture & Morality for its "interesting musical structures and vocals" but opined that it occasionally lapses into "tedium". He concluded: "While it is a flawed album, the positive aspects certainly outweigh its faults."[15] Record Mirror journalist Daniela Soave had at first resisted the album but gradually became a proponent. She said: "Because it falls between creating one overall mood and a collection of classic pop Architecture & Morality requires more effort on the listener's part...Although I had misgivings initially Architecture & Morality is no disappointment.[17]

Three years after the release of Architecture & Morality, a reflective article in Melody Maker exhibited a fervour that was absent from most contemporary reviews – particularly the one published in that magazine – wherein the album was called "the first true masterpiece of the Eighties."[23] Critical opinion has continued to shift to a more favourable stance, with the record garnering near-unanimous acclaim in retrospective appraisals. Ned Raggett in AllMusic wrote: "[C]ombining everything from design and presentation to even the title into an overall artistic effort, this album showed that OMD was arguably the first Liverpool band since the later Beatles to make such a sweeping, all-bases-covered achievement – more so because OMD owed nothing to the Fab Four." Raggett named singles "Souvenir" and "Joan of Arc", along with "The New Stone Age", as highlights and suggested that the album pointed toward the group's future sonic experimentation, saying: "[T]he heartbreaking 'Sealand' and 'Georgia' hint at where OMD would go next, with Dazzle Ships."[13] In his review for Pitchfork Media, Scott Plagenhoef remarked: "Shaking off the dread of their music engaging with the public while simultaneously weathering critical scrutiny, OMD shows a greater facility for pop melody, crafting songs of aching fragility...Architecture & Morality is a bridge between synth-pop's more bleak, industrial beginnings and the shimmer and shine of ambitious New Pop."[18] John Doran in The Quietus described the record as "astonishing", and asserted: "There isn't a note out of place on Architecture & Morality...this is one of the finest 1980s pop albums."[20]

An international single release was planned for "She's Leaving", but the group ultimately reneged on the idea. Robin Denselow in The Guardian lauded the track as "the sort of song that Paul McCartney might have written if he'd grown up with the synthesiser bands of '81."[24] Retrospectively, Gareth Ware in This Is Fake DIY described it as "arguably one of the finest non-singles in modern history";[22] Ned Raggett praised the song's "polished pop perfection" and suggested that it "would have made an inspired choice for a fourth single."[13]


In recent years, publications like The Guardian, Mojo and the Tampa Bay Times, among others, have included Architecture & Morality in "greatest albums" lists; a 2007 article in The Morning News named the record as the best album of 1981 – a ranking it also holds at Sputnikmusic.[b] The record was selected as BBC Radio 6 Music's "Classic Album of the Day" on 21 November 2012.[34]

Track listings[edit]

All songs were written by Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The New Stone Age"   McCluskey 3:22
2. "She's Leaving"     3:28
3. "Souvenir"   Humphreys, Martin Cooper 3:39
4. "Sealand"     7:47
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Joan of Arc"   McCluskey 3:48
2. "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)"   McCluskey 4:12
3. "Architecture and Morality"     3:43
4. "Georgia"     3:24
5. "The Beginning and the End"     3:48
Limited edition bonus track
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Enola Gay"   McCluskey 3:33[35]


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1981/1982) Peak
Netherlands Albums Chart[36] 1
UK Albums Chart[37] 3
French Albums Chart[38] 21
Austrian Albums Chart[39] 16
Canadian Albums Chart[40] 18
New Zealand Albums Chart[41] 22
Swedish Albums Chart[42] 28



  1. ^ a b c "OMD DISCOGRAPHY | ALBUMS 1980 – 84". Official OMD website. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "OMD DISCOGRAPHY | SINGLES 1979 – 84". Official OMD website. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Q & A". Official OMD website. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Orchestral leap in the dark". The Scotsman. The Scotsman Publications. 3 February 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  5. ^ McGuane, Kenny S. (June 19, 2013). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Under the Radar. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "OMD, Diamond Rings". Salt Lake City Weekly. Copperfield Publishing. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Turner, Andy (6 April 2013). "Preview: Reinvigorated OMD go back to the future". Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "This tour is part of an evil master plan". Cambridge News. Local World. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "OMD (Andy McCluskey) interview". This is Not Retro. April 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "OMD – The Best of OMD". LeftLion. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  11. ^ See Legacy.
  12. ^ Stanley, Bob. How to lose 3 million fans in one easy step. The Guardian. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Raggett, Ned. "Architecture & Morality > Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 November 2009 (2009-11-04).  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. ^ Patel, Amar (20 April 2007). "Review of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture And Morality". BBC. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  15. ^ a b Scharff, Brad (13 April 1982). "Sound Advice". The Cavalier Daily. Google News. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Fulton, Rick (4 May 2007). "ALBUMS; singles and albums". Daily Record. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  17. ^ a b c d West, Mike. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. Omnibus Press. 1982. ISBN 0-7119-0149X. p. 28.
  18. ^ a b Plagenhoef, Scott (18 July 2003). "Album Reviews: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark / Organisation / Architecture & Morality". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  19. ^ Q (May 2003).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ a b Doran, John (29 November 2011). "30 Years On: OMD's Architecture & Morality Remembered". The Quietus. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture & Morality". Record Collector. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Ware, Gareth (4 March 2013). "OMD: Of All The Thing We've Made: Dazzle Ships At 30". This is Fake DIY. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  23. ^ OMD feature. Melody Maker. 28 April 1984.
  24. ^ Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike. Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1987. ISBN 0-283-99234-4. p. 97.
  25. ^ 1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die: Artists beginning with O. The Guardian. 21 November 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  26. ^ The 80 Greatest Albums from the 80's. Mojo. Archived at Acclaimed Music. August 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  27. ^ Spears, Steve. "80 must-own albums for '80s fans". Tampa Bay Times. 7 February 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  28. ^ Womack, Andrew. The Top 10 Albums of 1981. The Morning News. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  29. ^ "Best Pop Albums of 1981". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  30. ^ 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe Publishing. 2010. p.476.
  31. ^ "Top 500 Albums of All Time". Phantom FM. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1981: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s – Part 2". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  33. ^ "10 Essential Synth-Pop Albums". Treble. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  34. ^ "OMD's Andy McCluskey joins Steve". BBC Radio 6 Music. 21 November 2012.
  35. ^ "OMD: The Videos". Episode 1/1. 1988. 35 minutes in. Channel 4.  Missing or empty |series= (help) Andy McCluskey: "They [record labels] thought it would be a good idea to tack on 'Enola Gay' to the album [Architecture & Morality], which we originally did do in a few places, although I definitely thought the record was strong enough to sell itself."
  36. ^ "Chart Stats – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture And Morality". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  37. ^ "Chart Stats – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture And Morality". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  38. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark)". Retrieved 7 November 2009.  External link in |title= (help)
  39. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Architecture & Morality –" (in German). Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  40. ^ " OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) – Architecture & Morality". Retrieved 4 October 2009.  External link in |title= (help)
  41. ^ " – OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Architecture & Morality". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  42. ^ " – OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Architecture & Morality". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 

External links[edit]