Sugar Tax (album)

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Sugar Tax
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Sugar Tax album cover.jpg
Studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Released 7 May 1991 (1991-05-07)
Recorded 1989–1990 at:
The Pink Museum, Liverpool
The Strongroom, London
The Townhouse, London
Amazon Studios, Liverpool
Genre Dance-pop, synthpop
Length 51:17
Label Virgin
Producer Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Howard Gray
Andy Richards
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark chronology
The Best of OMD
Sugar Tax
Singles from Sugar Tax
  1. "Sailing on the Seven Seas"
    Released: 18 March 1991
  2. "Pandora's Box"
    Released: 24 June 1991
  3. "Then You Turn Away"
    Released: 2 September 1991
  4. "Call My Name"
    Released: 18 November 1991

Sugar Tax is the eighth album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1991 on Virgin Records. It was group's first studio album since 1986, and the first of three recorded without co-founder Paul Humphreys, who had departed in 1989. Essentially a solo venture for singer Andy McCluskey under the OMD moniker, it leans more towards the dance-pop genre that was prevalent in the early 1990s, than the experimental brand of synthpop which characterised the band's earlier recordings.

The album received modestly favourable reviews but was a resounding hit with the public. It charted at No. 3 in the UK – the group's first Top 10 entry for a studio album since 1984's Junk Culture – and spawned two UK Top 10 hit singles: "Sailing on the Seven Seas" and "Pandora's Box". By early 2007, the record had sold over three million copies.[1]

Sugar Tax is the only album in the OMD catalogue not to feature the songwriting contribution of Paul Humphreys.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[2]
Colin Larkin 3/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[4]
Q 3/5 stars[5]
St. Petersburg Times (favourable)[6]

Critical reaction to the album tended towards the positive. Richard Riccio was thoroughly impressed, describing the record as being "sprinkled with gems" in his review for the St. Petersburg Times. He added: "Sugar Tax is classic OMD, and after a four-year absence marks a triumphant return for one of new wave's original invaders."[6] Gina Arnold in Entertainment Weekly was also favourable, writing: "OMD have never been afraid of combining naked emotion with their cold techno-mechanics, and it's this emotion — exhibited in lead singer Andy McClusky's [sic] sobbing, soaring vocals – that redeems their take on the otherwise fairly vacant dance-pop genre."[4] A review in Q magazine lauded Sugar Tax as "an unflappable album of quality songs which re-establishes OMD's credentials as masters of synthesized melancholia and dreamy pop songs."[5]

Conversely, Ned Raggett in AllMusic described the album as "pleasant instead of memorable", and felt that it suffered due to the absence of McCluskey's former bandmates. Raggett did, however, have praise for "Sailing on the Seven Seas".[2]

Track listing[edit]

Notably, the album does not include the title track Sugar Tax, as it was not ready in time for release. It was instead included as the B-side to the single Then You Turn Away.

All songs written and composed by OMD (i.e. Andy McCluskey), except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Sailing on the Seven Seas"   OMD, Stuart Kershaw 3:45
2. "Pandora's Box"     4:09
3. "Then You Turn Away"   OMD, Kershaw, Lloyd Massett 4:17
4. "Speed of Light"     4:29
5. "Was It Something I Said"     4:29
6. "Big Town"     4:19
7. "Call My Name"     4:23
8. "Apollo XI" (instrumental, contains sample from JFK "Landing a man on the moon" speech and Apollo 11-related radio transmissions)   4:13
9. "Walking on Air"   OMD, Kershaw, Massett 4:49
10. "Walk Tall"   OMD, Kershaw, Massett 3:55
11. "Neon Lights" (reworking of Kraftwerk track from The Man-Machine) Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Karl Bartos 4:19
12. "All That Glitters"   OMD, Kershaw, Massett 4:06

Album singles[edit]

Release date Single United Kingdom United States
United States
18 March 1991 (1991-03-18) "Sailing on the Seven Seas" 3[7] 9[8] 5[9] 3[10] 3[10]
24 June 1991 (1991-06-24) "Pandora's Box" 7[7] 11[8] 19[8] 19[9] 49[11] 7[11] 7[11]
9 September 1991 (1991-09-09) "Then You Turn Away" 50[7]
18 November 1991 (1991-11-18) "Call My Name" 50[7] 24[12] 28[12]





  1. ^ "Orchestral leap in the dark". The Scotsman. The Scotsman Publications. 3 February 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Sugar Tax review". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin. The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music. Virgin Books. 1997. ISBN 0753501597. p. 350.
  4. ^ a b Arnold, Gina (14 June 1991). "Sugar Tax review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  5. ^ a b "Sugar Tax". Q. June 1991. 
  6. ^ a b Riccio, Richard. "Sugar is sprinkled with gems". St. Petersburg Times. 23 August 1991. p.21.
  7. ^ a b c d "Chart Stats – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Archived from the original on 2012-10-14. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c "Sugar Tax > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  9. ^ a b " search results for Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  10. ^ a b " entry for Sailing on the Seven Seas". Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c " entry for Pandora's Box". Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  12. ^ a b " entry for Call My Name". Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  13. ^ "Power in the Darkness". Music Technology. December 1991.