Sugar Tax (album)

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Sugar Tax
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Sugar Tax album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released7 May 1991 (1991-05-07)
Recorded1989–1990 at:
The Pink Museum, Liverpool
The Strongroom, London
The Townhouse, London
Amazon Studios, Liverpool
GenreDance-pop, synthpop
ProducerOrchestral 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 the group's first studio album since 1986, and the first of three recorded without co-founder Paul Humphreys, who had departed in 1989. Featuring singer Andy McCluskey with a new backing band, it leans more towards the dance-pop genre that was prevalent in the early 1990s, than the experimental brand of synthpop which characterised OMD's earlier recordings.

The album charted at No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart and spawned two UK Top 10 hit singles: "Sailing on the Seven Seas" and "Pandora's Box". It had sold over three million copies by 2007.[1]

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


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Eighties Music3/5 stars[3]
Entertainment WeeklyB[4]
Q3/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[6]

Richard Riccio described 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."[7] Gina Arnold in Entertainment Weekly wrote: "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 called Sugar Tax "an unflappable album of quality songs which re-establishes OMD's credentials as masters of synthesized melancholia and dreamy pop songs."[5]

Retrospectively, 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] Trouser Press found the record to be "simply ordinary and mediocre, a disappointment from a once-captivating band".[8]

Track listing[edit]

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 tracks written by OMD (i.e. Andy McCluskey), except where noted.

1."Sailing on the Seven Seas"OMD, Stuart Kershaw3:45
2."Pandora's Box" 4:09
3."Then You Turn Away"OMD, Kershaw, Lloyd Massett4:17
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, Massett4:49
10."Walk Tall"OMD, Kershaw, Massett3:55
11."Neon Lights" (reworking of Kraftwerk track from The Man-Machine)Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Karl Bartos4:19
12."All That Glitters"OMD, Kershaw, Massett4:06

Album singles[edit]

Release date Single United Kingdom United States
United States
18 March 1991 (1991-03-18) "Sailing on the Seven Seas" 3[9] 9[10] 5[11] 3[12] 3[12]
24 June 1991 (1991-06-24) "Pandora's Box" 7[9] 11[10] 19[10] 19[11] 49[13] 7[13] 7[13]
9 September 1991 (1991-09-09) "Then You Turn Away" 50[9]
18 November 1991 (1991-11-18) "Call My Name" 50[9] 24[14] 28[14]



  • Recorded and Performed by: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, except "Neon Lights" by OMD, Christine Mellor
  • Produced by: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, except Howard Gray (4), Andy Richards (7,9,12)
  • Mixed by: Jeremy Allom, Avril Mackintosh, Alan Meyerson, Steve Williams
  • Engineered by: Jeremy Allom, Phil Coxon, Fred De Faye, Guy Forrester, Mike Haas, Renny Hill, Pat O'Shaughnessy, Steve Williams
  • Guitar by: Stuart Boyle
  • Additional Vocals by: Carmen Daye, Doreen Edwards, Sue Forshaw, Ann Heston, Stuart Kershaw, Nathalie Loates, Christine Mellor, Beverly Reppion
  • Management: Steve Jensen, Martin Kirkup
  • Sleeve designed by: Area
  • Photographed by: Taylor Key
  • Many thanks to: Stuart, Lloyd, Hambi and all the Pink Posse





  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 – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music. Virgin Books. p. 350. ISBN 0753501597.
  4. ^ a b Arnold, Gina (14 June 1991). "Sugar Tax". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Sugar Tax". Q (57). June 1991.
  6. ^ Evans, Paul (2004). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 607. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  7. ^ Riccio, Richard. "Sugar is sprinkled with gems". St. Petersburg Times. 23 August 1991. p.21.
  8. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Sugar Tax". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d "Chart Stats – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Archived from the original on 2 March 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  10. ^ a b c "Sugar Tax > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  11. ^ a b " search results for Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  12. ^ a b " entry for Sailing on the Seven Seas". Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  13. ^ a b c " entry for Pandora's Box". Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  14. ^ a b " entry for Call My Name". Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  15. ^ "Power in the Darkness". Music Technology. December 1991.