Junk Culture (Deluxe Edition)

Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark

Universal Media Enterprises, 2015

http://www.omd.uk.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/05/2015

Thirty years ago, when OMD released this classic record, this was a make or break chance for them as their previous record hadn’t done well with critics or buyers. Fortunately, this is the record that shot them into the stratosphere. With this new deluxe edition, full of B-sides, demos and unreleased tracks and remastered sound, one truly gets what makes this album so special.

The singles still sound fresh and exhilarating as they did upon their original release: “Tesla Girls” and “Locomotion” were the album’s original calling cards and still sound great and not dated in the slightest. But it is the other tracks, like “Talking Loud and Clear” and the revelatory “Never Turn Away,” that really captured this writer’s attention; damn, these songs are great! The latter is a ballad that belongs at the top of the list of the ‘80s greatest New Wave ballads.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The second disc contains some rarely heard treasures that rank amongst the best tracks OMD ever made. “Her Body In My Soul” and “The Avenue” were original B-sides that would’ve fit perfectly in the original track listing. The ‘re-recorded’ version of “Julia’s Song” is an astonishing piece of work that really gets the listener and goes for the throat. Words cannot express how amazing this song is; all the listener can do is reach for the repeat button again and again.

There are also extended, 12” versions of “Tesla Girls” and “Talking Loud And Clear” and “Never Turn Away,” the last two of which are really superior and really show off how great these songs are. There’s also two previously never before heard tracks, “10 To 1” and “All Or Nothing,” the latter of which is described as the closest OMD ever got to a folk song. “10 To 1” is a rather interesting track that sounds really fresh, even thirty years after it was first recorded.

The album is rounded out by a trio of demos made during the pre-production era of the record.

An interesting side note about this release: there is a manufacturing defect on disc two. The track “Wrappup” is supposed to be a dub version of “All Wrapped Up,” but in actuality is the regular version of “All Wrapped Up.” At the time of this review going to press, the label was working on getting this defect fixed.

In the end, this is an OMD album that is looked upon as the benchmark of their career, a highlight that they would have a tough time repeating. Eventually, they steered themselves in a more pop direction, but this deluxe reissue really shows how great and original of a New Wave band they were.

Rating: B+

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