Architecture & Morality
|Architecture & Morality|
|Studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark|
|Released||8 November 1981|
|Recorded||1980–1981 at The Gramophone Suite, Liverpool and The Manor Studio, Shipton-on-Cherwell|
|Genre||Electronic, experimental, synthpop|
|Producer||Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Richard Manwaring and Mike Howlett|
|Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark chronology|
|Singles from Architecture & Morality|
Architecture & Morality is the third album by British electronic group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, released in 1981. Hailed as a masterpiece and the band's seminal work, it has appeared in various "best albums" lists; The Morning News named it the finest record of 1981, and "the blueprint for synth-pop". The album also became a commercial success, selling over 4 million copies by 2007.
The record spawned three international hit singles, which sold more than 8 million copies combined.
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 an 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. The three singles sold more than 8 million copies combined.
|The Cavalier Daily||(B+)|
|The Irish Times||(favourable)|
Lynden Barber in Melody Maker criticised Architecture & Morality, writing: "I don't believe the Orchs 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." In his review for The Cavalier Daily, Brad Scharff applauded the LP 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." 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.
"We didn't think it got the respect it deserved", said McCluskey in 1983. "We put a lot into it and we really loved it... anything which undermines our own unstable balance creates a problem for us." The following year, a reflective article in Melody Maker exhibited a fervour that was absent from the publication's initial review, describing Architecture & Morality as "the first true masterpiece of the Eighties." Other journalists have since called the record a "masterpiece" as it has come to garner critical acclaim. Ned Raggett in AllMusic wrote: "If there was a clear high point for OMD in terms of balancing relentless experimentation and seemingly unstoppable mainstream success in the U.K., Architecture & Morality is it." Raggett saw the album as an indicator the group's future sonic adventures, saying: "[T]he heartbreaking 'Sealand' and 'Georgia' hint at where OMD would go next, with Dazzle Ships." In an enthusiastic review for Pitchfork, Scott Plagenhoef described the record as "a bridge between synth-pop's more bleak, industrial beginnings and the shimmer and shine of ambitious New Pop." John Doran in The Quietus called the LP "astonishing", and asserted: "There isn't a note out of place on Architecture & Morality... this is one of the finest 1980s pop albums." Daily Record critic Rick Fulton saw it as "one of the [electronic] genre's best albums".
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." Retrospectively, Gareth Ware in DIY described it as "arguably one of the finest non-singles in modern history"; Ned Raggett praised the song's "polished pop perfection" and suggested that it "would have made an inspired choice for a fourth single."
Architecture & Morality is included in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In recent years, publications like The Guardian, Mojo, the Tampa Bay Times and Phantom FM have included it in "best albums" lists. In 2007, Andrew Womack in The Morning News named Architecture & Morality as the finest album of 1981, writing: "For the past 25 years, it's stood as the blueprint for synth-pop; few have approached an improvement upon its design." It was selected as BBC Radio 6 Music's "Classic Album of the Day" on 21 November 2012. In a 2013 listener poll, Architecture & Morality was ranked the 13th best album of 1981, based on the opinions of almost 25,000 respondents.
In February 2007, The Scotsman reported that the album had sold over 4 million copies. BBC Music writer Amar Patel noted that among OMD's output, Architecture & Morality is "often regarded as their seminal work".
|1.||"The New Stone Age"||McCluskey||3:22|
|3.||"Souvenir"||Humphreys, Martin Cooper||3:39|
|1.||"Joan of Arc"||McCluskey||3:48|
|2.||"Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)"||McCluskey||4:12|
|3.||"Architecture and Morality"||3:43|
|5.||"The Beginning and the End"||3:48|
- Paul Humphreys – synthesisers, piano, mellotron, acoustic and electronic percussion, organ, rhythm programming, radios, melodica and vocals
- Andy McCluskey – synthesisers, mellotron, guitar, bass, rhythm programming, acoustic and electronic percussion, reed horns, organ and vocals
- Malcolm Holmes – drums, electronic and acoustic percussion, bass synthesiser
- Martin Cooper – saxophone
|Netherlands Albums Chart||1|
|UK Albums Chart||3|
|French Albums Chart||21|
|Austrian Albums Chart||16|
|Canadian Albums Chart||18|
|New Zealand Albums Chart||22|
|Swedish Albums Chart||28|
|Australian Albums Chart (Kent Music Report)||62|
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One of the UK's most influential electro groups and one of the genre's best albums. It may have been released originally in 1981 but still sounds as fresh today.
- Dineen, Donal (20 December 2015). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's 'Architecture & Morality'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
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OMD's 1981 masterwork [...] perfectly balanced the avant garde with top-flight songwriting, pooling those [Kraftwerk and Brian Eno] influences together for an unforgettable set that few in the genre have come close to matching.
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