Skip to main content

English Electric

OMD was always one of my favourite '80s bands - their machine-tooled fusion of sweet pop, and austere synths, made them different from Depeche Mode, who were darker, less elegant, less literary.  OMD seemed to refer back to an earlier 20th century Golden Age that Auden might have recognised - modernity in solemn collision with war, technology, love, and loss.  Famously, their best songs were about factories, Hiroshima, and dead female saints; and soundtracked Hughes movies.  But they were very English for all their international style.

Now comes their first truly great work for 30 years - English Electric - an album peppered with unrequired samples from robot voices and modish public announcements - that nonetheless has the sound, scope and mood of their masterpiece, Architecture and Morality.

The best track is the second, 'Metroland', a peppy yet sad reflection on "elegance in decline".  OMD always located lyricism in some austere ironic modernist hinterland of regret and restraint, as if Brief Encounter had been written by William Empson.  Here this British quietude flashes as darkly as ever with a passionate, ambiguous, industrial pulse.  One of the albums of the year.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

THE BEVERLY PRIZE SUPER SHORTLIST FINALISED!

Dr Bruce Meyer, a significant Canadian poet and writer, will be the final judge for this year's Beverly Prize For International Writing - the impressive super shortlist of 18 international poets and writers is announced below.
Any original unpublished manuscript, in English, by anyone living anywhere in the world, writing in any genre or on any topic, prose, non-fiction or poetry (even drama) is eligible, making it arguably the world's most eclectic "broad church" literary scouting prize. Last year's debut winner was Sohini Basak (her book is being launched in Bloomsbury July 5th, 2018).

The rules of the prize stipulate that any author chosen for the shortlist agrees to accept publication with Eyewear if judged to be the final winner; and may not be entered into other competitions at this final stage of adjudication.
Bruce Meyer is author of more than 60 books of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, literary journalism, and portraiture. He was winner of the Gwendolyn…

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…

THE WINNER OF THE SIXTH FORTNIGHT PRIZE IS...



Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand