ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK – Dazzle Ships (1983)

Review by: Jared Walske
Album assigned by: Ali Ghoneim

I’m mostly familiar with OMD via their big pop hits from the mid-80s like “If You Leave” and “Tesla Girls” and while I’ve heard some of the stuff their earlier, artier material, it’s not what I immediately think of when I hear their name. As a result, listening to Dazzle Ships is an interesting experience. I can clearly hear the glossy pop band that would have those hits in this album, but there’s a little less emphasis on immediately catchy pop hooks and more attention paid to atmosphere and the overall flow of the album. It reminds me a little bit of Brian Eno’s pop albums, especially Another Green World, which also separated it’s more normal songs with stranger and less commercial compositions. the worst thing I can say about it is that the album is definitely a grower. A enjoyed it a lot both of the times I listened to it, but nothing on the album was as immediately catchy as the OMD hits I was already familiar with. Still, this was a very worthwhile listen and it deserves the critical reevaluation it has received in recent years.

Highlights: Everything, really. The album works really well as a whole and I’m not sure which, if any, songs I would pick out as the obvious best songs that you should listen to above all else. Just enjoy the whole thing at once.

Lowlights: None. It’s too solid and consistent to have any, assuming you don’t find synthpop to be completely unlistenable as a genre. 
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Author: tomymostalas

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