Organisation (album)

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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Organisation album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released24 October 1980 (1980-10-24)
Recorded1980, Ridge Farm Studio, Rusper; Advision Studios, West End
GenreSynthpop, new wave
ProducerOMD and Mike Howlett
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark chronology
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Architecture & Morality
Singles from Organisation
  1. "Enola Gay"
    Released: 26 September 1980

Organisation is the second album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1980. "Enola Gay" was the only single taken from the record. Malcolm Holmes had played drums with OMD before, notably on "Julia's Song" which was featured on the band's debut album, and for Organisation he was recruited as a full-time member replacing the TEAC tape recorder affectionately named "Winston". "The More I See You" is a cover of a song written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren in 1945, and popularised by Chris Montez in 1966. The record was remastered and re-released in 2003, with several bonus tracks.

Organisation has received generally favourable reviews. Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson has hailed the record as the finest of OMD's career.[1]

Album information[edit]

As with all OMD's early sleeve art, it was created by Peter Saville Associates and features a photograph by Richard Nutt of the cloud-covered peak of Marsco, in the Red Cuillin hills, overlooking Glen Sligachan on the Isle of Skye with Allt Dearg Mòr in the foreground. The album's title refers to the band Organisation, a precursor to Kraftwerk.

The album is notable for its melancholy tone. The band said that at the time they had been heavily influenced by Joy Division; this can be seen by the use of jarring drum sounds and moody songs on Organisation. Also notable is OMD's move away from pure Gary Numan-Kraftwerk-ian pop, embracing a grander sound, making an increasing use of acoustic instruments, and introducing sound collages. The group would continue to expand their sound this way on the next two albums Architecture & Morality and Dazzle Ships.

The single "Enola Gay" had little in common with the style of the rest of the album, despite its dark subject matter. Andy McCluskey has said it was written at the same time as the group's debut album.

"Motion and Heart" was also considered for a single release, but was dropped. A new recording of the song was made; this was released as a B-side of Architecture & Morality’s "Souvenir" and can be found on the remastered edition of that album.

"VCL XI" was the name of Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys' short lived group, which itself was named after a valve on the back of Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity album (although the name of the valve is actually written "VCL 11" on the Kraftwerk album).

"Stanlow" was written about the Stanlow Refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Eighties Music4/5 stars[3]
Q4/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[6]

Organisation met with positive reviews.[7] Dave McCullough in Sounds wrote: "OMITD are a youth-mirror more valuable than any street chic punk outfit I can imagine. OMITD are warmer than your so-called "warm" bands, your [Bruce] Springsteens, your [Graham] Parkers could ever be. They reflect the young horror of where and how we live but... they face the problems with an irrepressible intuitive sense that makes the best pop of any time."[8] In his review for Melody Maker, Lynden Barber said: "With their second album, OMD have produced not so much a collection of songs as a pervading mood, a feeling of restlessness spiked by an unsettling edge that never allows the music to descend into complacency... the music here represents a very healthy step forward."[7]

The album has received positive retrospective appraisals. In his review for AllMusic, Ned Raggett opined: "If OMD's debut album showed the band could succeed just as well on full-length efforts as singles, Organisation upped the ante even further, situating the band in the enviable position of at once being creative innovators and radio-friendly pop giants. That was shown as much by the astounding lead track and sole single from the album, "Enola Gay"... Organisation is packed with a number of gems, showing the band's reach and ability continuing to increase."[2] Raggett's colleague Dave Thompson praised the group's "inspired" cover of "The More I See You", asserting that OMD "totally reinvented the number, bringing a startling new reading to the song."[9]

Trouser Press wrote: "[Organisation] pays attention to ensure variation in the tunes... With nods to John Foxx and David Bowie, OMD overlays melodies to dramatic effect; the performances are excellent."[10]


Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson championed the record in a 2012 piece for MusicRadar. He said: "Organisation is [OMD's] second album. It's not their biggest record, but I think it's probably their best. It's got that Teutonic, Germanic kind of cold wave thing going on, which I've always been a sucker for."[1]

The New Musical Express named Organisation as one of the 50 best albums of 1980.[11] The record was listed in Slicing Up Eyeballs' "Best of the '80s" in March 2013, being ranked as one of the top 35 albums of 1980 based on 3,360 reader votes.[12]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
1."Enola Gay"Andy McCluskey3:33
2."2nd Thought"McCluskey4:15
3."VCL XI"Paul Humphreys, McCluskey3:50
4."Motion and Heart"Humphreys, McCluskey3:16
Side two
6."The Misunderstanding"Humphreys, McCluskey4:55
7."The More I See You"Harry Warren, Mack Gordon4:11
9."Stanlow"Humphreys, McCluskey6:30
Total length:40:05

US release (O.M.D.)[edit]

Organisation was not formally released in the US; instead Epic Records released a compilation in 1981. This US release collects material from Organisation and the first OMD album, but retains the sleeve-art of the debut LP.

Side one
1."Enola Gay"Andy McCluskey3:31
2."2nd Thought"McCluskey4:12
3."Bunker Soldiers"Paul Humphreys, McCluskey2:51
4."Almost"Humphreys, McCluskey3:46
5."Electricity"Humphreys, McCluskey3:32
6."Statues"Humphreys, McCluskey4:08
Side two
7."The Misunderstanding"Humphreys, McCluskey4:45
8."Julia's Song"Humphreys, McCluskey, Julia Kneale4:32
9."Motion and Heart"Humphreys, McCluskey3:13
10."Messages"Humphreys, McCluskey3:59
11."Stanlow"Humphreys, McCluskey6:30

2003 remaster[edit]

1."Enola Gay"McCluskey3:33
2."2nd Thought"McCluskey4:15
3."VCL XI"Humphreys, McCluskey3:50
4."Motion and Heart"Humphreys, McCluskey3:16
6."The Misunderstanding"Humphreys, McCluskey4:55
7."The More I See You"Warren, Gordon4:11
9."Stanlow"Humphreys, McCluskey6:40
10."Annex"Humphreys, McCluskey4:33
11."Introducing Radios" (live)Humphreys, McCluskey1:27
12."Distance Fades Between Us" (live)Humphreys, McCluskey3:44
13."Progress" (live)Humphreys, McCluskey2:57
14."Once When I Was Six" (live)Humphreys, McCluskey3:12
15."Electricity" (DinDisc 1980 version)Humphreys, McCluskey3:43
Total length:59:37


"Annex" was the B-side to "Enola Gay". "Introducing Radios", "Distance Fades Between Us", "Progress", and "Once When I Was Six" are tracks that were originally available on a 7" released with the first 10,000 copies of Organisation, and initial copies of the cassette.


  • Paul Humphreys – synthesizers, electronic organ, electronic and acoustic piano, rhythm programming, acoustic and electronic percussion and vocals
  • Andy McCluskey – synthesizer, bass guitar, electronic organ, treated acoustic piano, rhythm programming, acoustic and electronic percussion and vocals
  • Malcolm Holmes – drums and percussion


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Steven (17 September 2012). "Steven Wilson: my top 5 not-so-guilty pleasures of all time". MusicRadar. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Organisation – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music. Virgin Books. p. 350. ISBN 0753501597.
  4. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (18 July 2003). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark / Organisation / Architecture & Morality". Pitchfork. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  5. ^ Eddy, Todd (May 2003). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Organisation". Q (202).
  6. ^ Evans, Paul (2004). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 607. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  7. ^ a b Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike. Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1987. ISBN 0-283-99234-4. p. 80.
  8. ^ McCullough, Dave. "Organisation". Sounds (25 October 1980).
  9. ^ Thompson, Dave. The More I See You - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. AllMusic. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  11. ^ 1980 NME Albums at Rocklist.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1980: Slicing Up Eyeballs' Best of the '80s — Part 1". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)