Architecture & Morality

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Architecture & Morality
Omd architecture.jpg
Studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Released 8 November 1981 (1981-11-08)[1]
Recorded 1980–1981
Genre Synth-pop[2]
Length 37:13
  • Mike Howlett
  • Richard Manwaring
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark chronology
Architecture & Morality
Dazzle Ships
Singles from Architecture & Morality
  1. "Souvenir"
    Released: 4 August 1981[3]
  2. "Joan of Arc"
    Released: 9 October 1981[3]
  3. "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)"
    Released: 15 January 1982[3]
  4. "She's Leaving"
    Released: 1982 (Benelux only)[4]

Architecture & Morality is the third studio album by British electronic music group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. It was released through Dindisc and Virgin Records on 8 November 1981. Hailed as the band's seminal work, the album received critical acclaim and has appeared on various "best albums" lists; The Morning News named it the finest record of 1981, and "the blueprint for synth-pop".[2] The album also became a commercial success, selling over 4 million copies by 2007. The record spawned three international hit singles, which together sold more than 8 million copies.

Album information

According to the album's credits, its title was suggested to the band by Martha Ladly, formerly of Martha and the Muffins, after the 1977 book Morality and Architecture by David Watkin.[1]

Musically, the album was notable for making liberal use of the mellotron, a mechanical tape-replay keyboard more commonly associated in Britain with progressive rock bands of the early 1970s than with the synthpop of the 1980s.

The tenth through sixteenth tracks of the remastered album are bonus tracks and were B-sides from the album's three singles, except "Gravity Never Failed" which was an out-take from the album sessions, originally intended to have been a single A-side, but not released until 1988 as the B-side of "Dreaming".

Remixes of "The Romance of the Telescope (Unfinished)" and "Of All The Things We've Made" appeared on OMD's next album, Dazzle Ships, released in 1983.

All of the album's songs were included in the first part of the setlist on OMD's 2007 comeback tour.


The artwork was produced by Peter Saville and Brett Wickens. Architecture & Morality was released several times with varying artwork, most notably in yellow, blue and grey but even green versions are available. The original cover from 1981 is light yellow/orange in a die-cut sleeve.[citation needed]


Architecture & Morality yielded three singles, all of which charted in the UK Top 5: "Souvenir" (#3), "Joan of Arc" (#5), and "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" (#4), a retitled "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)". The singles were also successful on international charts, with "Souvenir" and "Maid of Orleans" each charting at number one in various European countries; the latter became Germany's biggest-selling single of 1982.[5] The three singles sold more than 8 million copies combined.[6][7]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[8]
The Cavalier Daily B+[9]
Daily Record 5/5 stars[10]
Encyclopedia of Eighties Music 4/5 stars[11]
Pitchfork 8.7/10[12]
Q 5/5 stars[13]
Record Collector 5/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[15]
Uncut 4/5 stars[16]

Lynden Barber in Melody Maker criticised Architecture & Morality, writing: "I don't believe the Orchs even care about this record... the style is the same, the content profoundly different, the onslaught of emptiness, frivolity disguised by furrowed brows, a new brand of meaninglessness."[17] In his review for The Cavalier Daily, Brad Scharff applauded the LP for its "interesting musical structures and vocals" but opined that it occasionally lapses into "tedium". He concluded: "While it is a flawed album, the positive aspects certainly outweigh its faults."[9] Record Mirror journalist Daniela Soave had at first resisted the album but gradually became a proponent. She said: "Because it falls between creating one overall mood and a collection of classic pop Architecture & Morality requires more effort on the listener's part... Although I had misgivings initially Architecture & Morality is no disappointment.[17]

"We didn't think it got the respect it deserved", said McCluskey in 1983. "We put a lot into it and we really loved it... anything which undermines our own unstable balance creates a problem for us."[18] The following year, a reflective article in Melody Maker exhibited a fervour that was absent from the publication's initial review, describing Architecture & Morality as "the first true masterpiece of the Eighties."[19] Other journalists have since called the record a "masterpiece"[18][20][21][22] as it has come to garner critical acclaim.[23]

Trouser Press observed: "OMD is again experimenting with sound and much of the album sounds more naturalistic than electronic. An intriguing and highly inventive use of the technology."[24] Ned Raggett in AllMusic wrote: "If there was a clear high point for OMD in terms of balancing relentless experimentation and seemingly unstoppable mainstream success in the U.K., Architecture & Morality is it." Raggett saw the album as an indicator the group's future sonic adventures, saying: "[T]he heartbreaking 'Sealand' and 'Georgia' hint at where OMD would go next, with Dazzle Ships."[8] In an enthusiastic review for Pitchfork, Scott Plagenhoef described the record as "a bridge between synth-pop's more bleak, industrial beginnings and the shimmer and shine of ambitious New Pop."[12] John Doran in The Quietus called the LP "astonishing", and asserted: "There isn't a note out of place on Architecture & Morality... this is one of the finest 1980s pop albums."[25] Daily Record critic Rick Fulton saw it as "one of the [electronic] genre's best albums".[10]

An international single release was planned for "She's Leaving", but the group ultimately reneged on the idea. Robin Denselow in The Guardian lauded the track as "the sort of song that Paul McCartney might have written if he'd grown up with the synthesiser bands of '81."[26] Retrospectively, Gareth Ware in DIY described it as "arguably one of the finest non-singles in modern history";[18] Ned Raggett praised the song's "polished pop perfection" and suggested that it "would have made an inspired choice for a fourth single."[8]


Architecture & Morality is included in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[27] In recent years, publications like The Guardian,[28] Mojo,[29] the Tampa Bay Times[30] and Phantom FM[31] have included it in "best albums" lists. In 2007, Andrew Womack in The Morning News named Architecture & Morality as the finest album of 1981, writing: "For the past 25 years, it's stood as the blueprint for synth-pop; few have approached an improvement upon its design."[2] It was selected as BBC Radio 6 Music's "Classic Album of the Day" on 21 November 2012.[32] In a 2013 listener poll, Architecture & Morality was ranked the 13th best album of 1981, based on the opinions of almost 25,000 respondents.[33]

In February 2007, The Scotsman reported that the album had sold over 4 million copies.[34] BBC Music writer Amar Patel noted that among OMD's output, Architecture & Morality is "often regarded as their seminal work".[35]

Track listings

All songs were written by Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The New Stone Age" McCluskey 3:22
2. "She's Leaving"   3:28
3. "Souvenir" Humphreys, Martin Cooper 3:39
4. "Sealand"   7:47
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Joan of Arc" McCluskey 3:48
2. "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)" McCluskey 4:12
3. "Architecture and Morality"   3:43
4. "Georgia"   3:24
5. "The Beginning and the End"   3:48
2003: remastered CD
  • UK: Virgin / DIDCDR12
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The New Stone Age" McCluskey 3:22
2. "She's Leaving"   3:28
3. "Souvenir" Humphreys, Cooper 3:39
4. "Sealand"   7:47
5. "Joan of Arc" McCluskey 3:48
6. "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)" McCluskey 4:12
7. "Architecture and Morality (Instrumental)"   3:43
8. "Georgia"   3:24
9. "The Beginning and the End"   3:48
bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
10. "Extended Souvenir" Humphreys, Cooper 4:16
11. "Motion and Heart" (Amazon version)   3:07
12. "Sacred Heart"   3:30
13. "The Romance of the Telescope" (Unfinished)   3:22
14. "Navigation"   3:00
15. "Of All the Things We've Made"   3:25
16. "Gravity Never Failed"   3:24

Navigation is edited some 30 seconds shorter at the end; full original length version (3:26) is available on Navigation: The OMD B-Sides.

2007: remastered CD with DVD
  • UK: Virgin / DIDCDRX12
Disc One

Same tracks as the remastered CD from 2003.

Disc Two
Promo videos
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Souvenir" (promo video) Humphreys, Cooper  
2. "Joan of Arc" (Live at Top of the Pops, 29 October 1981) McCluskey  
3. "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" (promo video) McCluskey  
Live at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane 4-12-1981
No. Title Writer(s) Length
4. "Almost"    
5. "Mystereality"    
6. "Joan of Arc" McCluskey  
7. "Motion and Heart"    
8. "Maid of Orleans" McCluskey  
9. "Statues" McCluskey  
10. "Souvenir" Humphreys, Cooper  
11. "The New Stone Age" McCluskey  
12. "Enola Gay" McCluskey  
13. "Bunker Soldiers"    
14. "Electricity"    
15. "She's Leaving"    
16. "Julia's Song" McCluskey, Humphreys, Julia Kneale  
17. "Stanlow"    


Chart performance

Chart (1981–1982) Peak
Netherlands Albums Chart[36] 1
UK Albums Chart[37] 3
French Albums Chart[38] 21
Austrian Albums Chart[39] 16
Canadian Albums Chart[40] 18
New Zealand Albums Chart[41] 22
Swedish Albums Chart[42] 28
Australian Albums Chart (Kent Music Report)[43] 62


  1. ^ a b c d "Architecture & Morality - Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark". Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (official website). Retrieved 22 October 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Womack, Andrew. The Top 10 Albums of 1981. The Morning News. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "OMD DISCOGRAPHY | SINGLES 1979 – 84". Official OMD website. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Q & A". Official OMD website. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Stanley, Bob. How to lose 3 million fans in one easy step. The Guardian. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  6. ^ "OMD – The Best of OMD". LeftLion. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "OMD (Andy McCluskey) interview". This is Not Retro. April 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Raggett, Ned. "Architecture & Morality – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Scharff, Brad (13 April 1982). "Sound Advice". The Cavalier Daily. Google News Archive. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Fulton, Rick (4 May 2007). "Singles and albums". Daily Record. One of the UK's most influential electro groups and one of the genre's best albums. It may have been released originally in 1981 but still sounds as fresh today. 
  11. ^ Larkin, Colin (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music. Virgin Books. p. 350. ISBN 0753501597. 
  12. ^ a b Plagenhoef, Scott (18 July 2003). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark / Organisation / Architecture & Morality". Pitchfork. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  13. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Architecture & Morality". Q (202). May 2003. OMD's 1981 masterwork [...] perfectly balanced the avant garde with top-flight songwriting, pooling those [Kraftwerk and Brian Eno] influences together for an unforgettable set that few in the genre have come close to matching. 
  14. ^ Doran, John (June 2007). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture & Morality". Record Collector (337). Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Evans, Paul (2004). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 607. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  16. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Architecture & Morality". Uncut (75). August 2003. A luxuriously bleak collage of avant-garde lullabies... 
  17. ^ a b West, Mike. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Omnibus Press. 1982. ISBN 0-7119-0149X. p. 28.
  18. ^ a b c Ware, Gareth (4 March 2013). "OMD: Of All The Thing We've Made: Dazzle Ships At 30". DIY. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  19. ^ OMD feature. Melody Maker. 28 April 1984.
  20. ^ Mardles, Paul (7 April 2013). "OMD: English Electric". The Observer. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  21. ^ Walsh, Ben (6 May 2013). "Music review: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Roundhouse, London". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  22. ^ Murphy, Tom (16 March 2011). "Andy McClusky of OMD on Dazzle Ships, the influence of '70s Krautrock and Peter Saville". Westword. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  23. ^ Locker, Melissa (5 April 2013). "OMD Still Innovating on 12th Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  24. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2 January 2017. 
  25. ^ Doran, John (29 November 2011). "30 Years On: OMD's Architecture & Morality Remembered". The Quietus. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  26. ^ Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike. Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1987. ISBN 0-283-99234-4. p. 97.
  27. ^ 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe Publishing. 2010. p.476.
  28. ^ 1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die: Artists beginning with O. The Guardian. 21 November 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  29. ^ The 80 Greatest Albums from the 80's. Mojo. Archived at Acclaimed Music. August 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  30. ^ Spears, Steve. "80 must-own albums for '80s fans". Tampa Bay Times. 7 February 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Top 500 Albums of All Time". Phantom FM. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  32. ^ "OMD's Andy McCluskey joins Steve". BBC Radio 6 Music. 21 November 2012.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1981: Slicing Up Eyeballs' Best of the '80s – Part 2". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  34. ^ "Orchestral leap in the dark". The Scotsman. The Scotsman Publications. 3 February 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  35. ^ Patel, Amar (20 April 2007). "Review of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture and Morality". BBC Music. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  36. ^ "Chart Stats – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture And Morality". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  37. ^ "Chart Stats – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture And Morality". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  38. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark)". Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  39. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Architecture & Morality –" (in German). Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  40. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) – Architecture & Morality". Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  41. ^ " – OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Architecture & Morality". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  42. ^ " – OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Architecture & Morality". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  43. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 

External links

  • Album lyrics at official OMD website
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