Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys make up Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, who were responsible for some of the catchiest and brightest synth pop that the '80s had to offer. O.M.D.'s material was a step above other keyboard pop music of the time, thanks to the combination of intelligently crafted hooks and colorful rhythms that bounced and jittered with pristine charm. Their squeaky-clean brilliancy initiated by both their synthesizers and subdued yet attractive vocal styles gave them a more mature sound over bands like Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls, who were attracting a younger audience. The Best of O.M.D. is an excellent compilation of their polished music, starting out with less provocative material like the basic electronic wash of "Electricity" and the bare but ebullient fervor of "Enola Gay." As this set moves along, so does the craftiness of their work, which is evident on tighter sounding songs like "Tesla Girls" and "Locomotion," where the intricacy of their formula begins to take a more resounding shape. O.M.D.'s best work came from 1985's Crush album, which harbored the midnight airiness found in "So in Love" as well as the adolescent innocence that streamed its way through "Secret," which are two of the best tracks on this set. Even though "If You Leave" was the highlight of Pretty in Pink's soundtrack, its adult feel and smooth transition from stanza to chorus makes it their most memorable song. With only four singles reaching the Top 40 in the '80s, all included here, the 18 tracks that make up this compilation prove that O.M.D.'s music was far more consistent and illuminating than the charts represent.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne