Way back in the late seventies and early eighties, so far back that not everybody was using synthesizers, England’s Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark (or OMD) brought the world synth-pop, and the rest was history (including having a hit song from a John Hughes film, “If You Leave”). The group went their separate ways in the eighties as music moved on, only to reunite in the twenty-first century as everyone was rediscovering synthesizers. But the old folks still do it the best, even when they add some decidedly modern political angles on Bauhaus Staircase.
OMD nicely mix their emotionalism, dance-pop, and more experimental attitudes on Staircase. The opener/title track is the elevated synth-pop that they practically invented (“I wanna kiss on a Bauhaus Staircase” is an extremely OMD mix of love and art), while the likes of “Look At You Now” and “Don’t Go” are their heart-on-the-sleeve ways that made you fall in love with Molly Ringwald. Yet there’s also some rather overt political takes on Bauhaus that don’t fit as well, like the computerized voice reciting population growth to “Anthropocene” or the same voice with heavy-handed messaging in “Evolution of Species”. That aspect comes together best in “Kleptocracy”, thanks to killer dance-pop synths & beats & rhymes.
Admittedly, so much electronic music is so very of the now and nothing else, forgetting the past and ignoring the present state of the world. Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark have mastered electronics virtually since it was introduced into popular music, and keep up that and more on Bauhaus Staircase.