OMD’S ‘Dazzle Ships’ Celebrates 40 Years With Expanded Reissue

Out on March 31, the new edition included the original album, plus a bonus LP of unreleased rarities compiled by the band’s Paul Humphreys.

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OMD - Photo: Rick Kern/Getty Images

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) continue their special 40th anniversary celebrations with the announcement of a brand new expanded version of the band’s acclaimed fourth studio album, Dazzle Ships, which will be out March 31 via UMR/EMI.

The lovingly put together set comprises of the original album, plus a bonus LP of unreleased demos and rarities which has been compiled and mixed by Paul Humphreys.

There will be two sets available – one in the original bespoke die cut sleeve on 180 gram black vinyl, and a second in a standard gatefold sleeve, on blue and silver vinyl. Both versions will use the alternate blue artwork. The 2LP edition on Black vinyl offers a gatefold sleeve with additional panel and die cuts – a replica of the original record. The new edition of Dazzle Ships will also be issued on CD.

Dazzle Ships’ title derived from the geometrically-painted warship camouflage intended to confuse enemy submarines during the 20th Century’s two World Wars. The brave and experimental follow-up to the band’s multi-platinum Architecture And Morality, it briefly peaked at No.5 in the UK Top 40, but it polarized critical opinion and was originally deemed a commercial failure.

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Telegraph

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Fast-forward almost four decades, however, and this brave and still futuristic-sounding opus is finally enjoying its season in the sun. The record’s eclectic tracklist is a perfect fit for modern music fans on the hunt for daring, cutting-edge electronic pop, while contemporaneous reappraisals (such as PopMatters’ declaration that it is “a lost classic”) cast Dazzle Ships in a much more positive light.

Indeed, having already conquered the charts, the idea of pursuing a radical new direction by making a record reflecting the Cold War-era paranoia rife in the early 80s, and peppering it with musique concrète and short-wave radio recordings from the austere Eastern Bloc, seemed perfectly reasonable to the Scouse synth-pop pioneers. “It all made sense to us,” Andy McCluskey told The Guardian in 2011. “We wanted to be ABBA and Stockhausen. [On Dazzle Ships], the machinery, bones, and humanity were juxtaposed.”

However, Dazzle Ships also included a clutch of the band’s most appealing tunes, including the bright, poppy “Telegraph,” the melancholic, New Order-esque “Silent Running”, the Kraftwerk-esque trailer single “Genetic Engineering” the hymnal ballad “The Romance Of The Telescope.” It wasn’t a huge hit the first time out, but since then a whole new generation of fans has discovered Dazzle Ships. After artists such as Saint Etienne and Mark Ronson sang its praises, Humphreys, McCluskey and the team performed the album in full, along with Architecture & Morality, at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall in 2016.

Pre-order Dazzle Ships.

After extensive touring in 2022, OMD will head out on the road again this Summer for a run of UK festival dates. See full dates below.

May 20: Lets Rock The Moor! 2023, Cookham
June 10: Let’s Rock The North East 2023, Middlesbrough
June 17: Let’s Rock Leeds 2023, Leeds
July 1: Lets Rock Exeter 2023, Exeter
July 8: Chilfest 2023, Tring
July 11: Audley End House & Gardens, Saffron Walden

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