Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Junk Culture

Today (April 30th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Junk Culture, the fifth studio album from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Across the globe, it charted at number 32 in Germany and number 9 in the Netherlands and the UK. Here in the US, it spent six weeks on the Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 182.

Side one begins with the instrumental title track “Junk Culture”, a sci-fi sounding slice of synthesized sound.

The third single “Tesla Girls” went number 33 in the Netherlands, and number 21 in both Ireland and the UK. This dance tune was very popular on our college radio station back in 1984, and it also showed up now and again at campus parties.

The first single was “Locomotion”; it went to number 61 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 32 in New Zealand, number 30 in Australia, number 22 in Switzerland, number 14 in Germany, number 5 in the Netherlands and the UK, and number 4 in Ireland. This one too was a campus favorite, thanks to a bouncy up-beat tempo. I like the Latin percussion that appears on this one; it gives the song a tropical element.

The up-tempo continues with a song about a girl named “Apollo”.

The side closes on a slower note with “Never Turn Away”.

Side two starts with “Love and Violence”, a song about a guy who is confused by the signals he is getting from his girlfriend.

“Hard Day” in some ways reminds me a little bit of Lou Reed, perhaps due to the vocal inflections and the general vibe of this one musically.

“All Wrapped Up” very much embraces tropical rhythms.

“White Trash”, despite the mostly up-beat music, is a song filled with anger and frustration towards someone who has been running their mouth all over town, spreading gossip and untruth.

“Talking Loud and Clear”, the closing track, was also the second single. It went to number 18 in Germany, number 11 in the UK, number 9 in Ireland and number 6 in the Netherlands.

I was very familiar with the singles from Junk Culture, but the rest of the album was new to me with this review. The singles were certainly the start of my interest in Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark back in the mid-80’s as the dance rhythms appealed to me at the time. I definitely enjoyed hearing them in context with the rest of the record, and have tagged a few of the tracks to also add to my library in the future.

For my various other OMD album reviews, click here.

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