Peel Sessions – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, 29 January 1983

After doing three in a little over a year, OMD‘s fourth and final John Peel session took place nearly two and a half years later, during which time they had turned out to be a little bit too popular to get much attention from the Godfather of British radio. But he did welcome them back for one final session.

It starts with a pretty faithful version of the then-current single Genetic Engineering, released a couple of weeks after the session was recorded and about ten days before it was broadcast. It gains a pleasant extra end section, making it more of a 12″ version.

The fourth album Dazzle Ships was just about to appear in the shops when this was broadcast, and the Peel Session was a good opportunity to showcase some of the material on this, one of their least overtly commercial releases. Closing track Of All the Things We’ve Made is the second track on here, pleasant and mournful, although the backing track, playing just one note for the entirety of the song, does start to wear a little towards the end.

The third track, both in this session and on the album, is ABC Auto-Industry, performed here with what might at least partially have been a live vocal. It’s short, experimental, and pleasant enough.

Not included on the Peel Sessions 1979-83 CD was the final track, another rendition of Bunker Soliders, which had previously been performed as part of the first session. It’s a shame this didn’t make it to that release actually – after an otherwise experimental session it makes a pleasant change of pace to hear one of their more uptempo pieces. It’s only slightly different here, otherwise retaining a lot of the raw unfiltered energy that it had three and a half years earlier.

We covered the previous sessions here, here and here. You can read more about OMD‘s relationship with John Peel‘s radio show here. The first three tracks from this session are available on the CD Peel Sessions 1979-83, available here, and you’ll have to find the other one on the internets somewhere.

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