All-Time Albums: #33



1 The New Stone Age 3:18
She’s Leaving 3:26
Souvenir 3:36 (UK single, #3)
4 Sealand 7:42
Joan Of Arc 3:48 (UK single, #5)
6 Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans) 4:10 (UK single, #4)
7 Architecture & Morality 3:38
8 Georgia 3:20
9 The Beginning & The End 3:44

OMD arguably reached their creative and commercial zenith with this album and its trio of UK Top 5 singles. Souvenir, Joan of Arc and Maid Of Orleans consolidated the breakthough they’d made with Enola Gay the year before, and by the end of 1981 this unlikely pair of popstars were up there alongside Adam Ant, The Human League, Madness and Gary Numan as Smash Hits readers’ favourites and Top Of The Pops regulars.

Architecture & Morality came out in a glorious period which saw Dare, Prince Charming, The Visitors, Movement and Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret all released at roughly the same time. Thanks to the singles, and an ever-growing fanbase, OMD held their own in such exalted company.

Even before I really got into (pop) music, OMD caught my attention in a way that few other acts of the time had managed; Souvenir, in particular, with its gorgeous melody and plaintive vocals. Maid Of Orleans made me think they were Scottish (the singer was called Andy McCluskey, after all), and it always evokes that wintery chill of early 1982, the post-Christmas mood that you’d feel as a kid, when the new School term begins and you’re still thinking of the holidays. The hit in between those two singles – Joan Of Arc – completely passed me by, which shows how tenuous my interest in the charts must have been.

There is much more to Architecture & Morality than just the singles, though. It opens with the surprisingly guitar-driven, Joy Division-esque New Stone Age, finds time to construct an 8-minute ode to Sealand which sounds as grey and abandoned as the place itself, and noodles around in typical OMD fashion for the title track. She’s Leaving could have been a single (in some European territories it was), and Georgia is sprightly in an Enola Gay style.

It says a lot that some of the B-sides and Outtakes from this era (Gravity Never Fails, Romance Of The Telescope) were as good, if not even better, than the material which made it onto the album.

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