Six years since the release of their critically-acclaimed, Top 4-charting The Punishment Of Luxury, synth pioneers Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) return with their brand new studio album Bauhaus Staircase – out October 27th.
The album’s first offering is the title track, which serves as a nod both to Andy McCluskey’s love of the Bauhaus era & the power of protest art. It’s available today – watch the animated video below.
“I am a huge lover of visual arts, especially mid 20th century movements,” Andy comments. “The song is a metaphor for strength and artist passion in the face of criticism and adversity. When times are hard, there is a tendency for Governments to look at cutting funding for creativity, just at the moment when the arts are most needed to nourish our souls. It seems appropriate that the song and its eponymous album were created during Covid Lockdown.”
It arrives as the band’s most explicitly political record and the crowning achievement of their desire to be both Stockhausen and Abba – born from the impetus to kickstart new explorations during lockdown when, as Andy McCluskey admits: “I rediscovered the creative power of total boredom.”
Predominantly written, recorded, and mixed by both McCluskey & Paul Humphreys (who has recently become a second-time father), Bauhaus Staircase’s other main external influence was David Watts, mainly known as a rock producer who helmed Sheffield band The Reytons’ recent No 1 album and mixed two tracks on the new OMD record.
Ranging from the beautiful film noir ballad of ‘Veruschka’, to ‘Anthropocene’ – a term for the current epoch in Earth’s evolution, to the sinister ‘Evolution Of Species’, and the hectic ‘Kleptocracy’ – OMD’s greatest straight-up protest song – the new album is a broad, electronic, sonic masterpiece that lyrically tackles the topics of the future. The record closes on ‘Healing’ – a moment of reflective calm and a rare OMD co-write, with lyrics by McCluskey’s friend, Liverpool singer-songwriter Caroline England, and production from ATOM TM.
OMD have sold an astonishing 25 million singles and 15 million albums, which has established them as electronic synthesiser pioneers and one of Britain’s best-loved pop groups. Their 13 albums include reissued ‘Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’ (1980), ‘Organisation’ (1980), ‘Architecture & Morality’ (1981) and ‘Dazzle Ships’ (1983).
By rights, OMD should be in semi-retirement, performing classics like Enola Gay and Maid Of Orleans on the nostalgia festival circuit like so many peers. Instead, they’ve created a landmark album worthy of their finest work. If real life meant OMD were happy to get help, Bauhaus Staircase remains unmistakably the work of a duo who are still perfectly in sync 45 years after their first gig at legendary Liverpool club Eric’s.