Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, aka OMD, are one of the greatest and most influential synth-pop bands of all time. This year they celebrate their 40th anniversary.
OMD, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow ****
Despite their reliance on similar instruments, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys were never remote automatons a la Kraftwerk. Their music, even with its occasionally cerebral themes, has always been defined by warmth, heart and soul: the sound of machinery manipulated by a tender human touch. OMD created some of the most beautiful and moving music of their era.
A thoroughly sparkling pop group, over the years they’ve proffered more hooks than a chain of angling megastores. No wonder this pioneering Liverpool duo are sometimes referred to as the Lennon and McCartney of synth-pop.
On stage they’re joined by a drummer and second keyboardist/saxophonist. Four middle-aged men dressed in black, they still stick proudly to their deliberate anti-image.
Flying in the face of their sombre attire, this open-air show was a joyous affair.
McCluskey, a genial frontman, zealously encouraged a packed amphitheatre to clap and sing along to fizzy pop classics such as Tesla Girls and Sailing on the Seven Seas. His throaty yodel hasn’t diminished with age. He can still pull off those distinctive arms akimbo dance moves without looking foolish. Dignity, always dignity.
When the sun went down during the elegiac Maid of Orleans, the effect was magical. Souvenir sounded as exquisitely sad as ever. These lovable android Pinocchios were, believe it or not, the perfect soundtrack for a hot August night.