Dazzle Ships - OMD

Just as strange, 25 years on

Peculiar and often pitch black,
Dazzle Ships momentarily
decimated Orchestral Manoeuvres
In the Dark’s burgeoning fanbase
on its release in 1983. It was as if
all pop thoughts had abandoned
the Liverpool twosome and, to
counteract the writer’s block
they’d experienced in the wake of
their enormous-selling
Architecture & Morality, they’d
returned to their earliest
experimental works, just at the
time when they were enjoying
their biggest audience.

Named after a painting of the
camouflaged ships used in the First
World War, Dazzle Ships embraced
early sampling. Instead of copying
anything commercial like old
breakbeats, the found sounds
included an oppressive collage of
news reports from around the
world, ticking clocks and static to
accompany the album’s dark and
detailed music.

Lead single Genetic Engineering
was not a Souvenir. Even when
they attempted their old formula on
the 1981 outtake Telegraph, it just
sounded weird. Although it reached
the Top 5, the album was quickly
brushed aside as the group went
overtly commercial for 1984’s Junk
Culture. Consistently eccentric,
Dazzle Ships remains a weirdly
satisfying listen on its 25th
anniversary.

5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars

Virgin | CDVR 2261

Reviewed by Daryl Easlea
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