The Epic 2017 Project #195: 170714
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – The Pacific Age (1986)
The Pacific Age was the seventh album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, released in 1986. “(Forever) Live and Die” became the group’s third hit single in the US and returned the group to the top 20 in the UK, peaking at number 11.
For the first time, brothers Graham and Neil Weir were formally credited as full members of OMD for this album. They had been involved with the group as session musicians since the re-recording of “Julia’s Song” in 1984 as a “Talking Loud and Clear” single B-side, and were credited as “also playing” musicians on the 1985 album Crush. The single “(Forever) Live and Die” was written by the Weir brothers with Paul Humphreys.
Owing to label-enforced time constraints, the first nine songs written for The Pacific Age appeared on the album. Two new songs, “Cajun Moon” and “Cut Me Down” were almost featured, but according to Andy McCluskey, “democracy won out”. 1983 holdover “Heaven Is” was nudged off in favour of “Flame of Hope” (“Heaven Is” was eventually included on 1993’s Liberator).
The Pacific Age met with negative reviews from the British music press.Melody Maker described the record as “Wheezing, crumpled and limp… a bitter, bitter disappointment”. In Sounds, it was portrayed as “Slick and slobbery, just a bunch of bored (sounding) professionals really”.
In a retrospective review, Trouser Press said: “Except for the smoothly contrived hit “(Forever) Live and Die” and the catchy “We Love You,” this dilettantish mess is less a set of songs than a meaningless collection of sounds.” A more favourable Dave Connolly of AllMusic noted “OMD’s mastery of melody and mood” and wrote that the group “continues to string snippets of sound together to create interesting patterns”, as well as “bring their technical skill to bear on a few cuts”. In a 2013 online poll, The Pacific Age was voted the 46th best album of 1986 based on the opinions of almost 53,000 respondents.
Andy McCluskey said that on The Pacific Age, the band had “lost the plot” due to being afforded “no real time to take stock and write some decent material”; he also feels that the album’s production “just doesn’t sound like [OMD]”. McCluskey noted that the record features tracks he wishes the band had never released, but considers “(Forever) Live and Die” to be “a good song”
So here it is…