Junk Culture

Junk Culture is the fifth studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released on 30 April 1984 by Virgin Records. After the commercial disappointment of the group's experimental 1983 album Dazzle Ships, OMD and Virgin intended for the band to shift toward a more accessible sound on its follow-up release. The record spawned four singles, including the chart hits "Locomotion" and "Talking Loud and Clear".

Junk Culture
Studio album by
Released30 April 1984 (1984-04-30)
Pre-recorded at Air Studios, Montserrat, ICP Studios, Brussels and Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum
Recorded at The Manor Studio, Shipton-on-Cherwell
GenreElectronic, synth-pop
ProducerBrian Tench and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark chronology
Dazzle Ships
Junk Culture
Singles from Junk Culture
  1. "Locomotion"
    Released: 2 April 1984
  2. "Talking Loud and Clear"
    Released: 4 June 1984
  3. "Tesla Girls"
    Released: 28 August 1984
  4. "Never Turn Away"
    Released: 29 October 1984
  5. "Julia's Song (Dub Version)"
    Released: 18 April 2015


Core members Humphreys and McCluskey decided to move away from their own "Gramophone Suite" studios in Liverpool, starting on new tracks instead in Highland Studios in Inverness and in Lincolnshire.[1] The group then performed a short series of live shows in September 1983[2] partly in order to reassure their public and also to showcase the new tracks. These included early versions of "All Wrapped Up", "Tesla Girls", "Junk Culture", "Never Turn Away", "The Avenue" and "Heaven Is".[3] The group then returned to the studio with producer Brian Tench.

A single release was briefly considered for the end of 1983 but rejected by Virgin Records who insisted the band concentrate on the album production. The band and Tench then moved on to Air Studios in Montserrat, the tropical climate and ambiance giving rise among other things the reworking of early track "Wrappup" into the calypso style "All Wrapped Up". Fundamental to the album's sound was also the Fairlight CMI sampler keyboard which the group started using in Montserrat.[1] The group then returned to Europe to finish off the album at Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands. Producer Tony Visconti, known for his work with David Bowie, was also recruited to work on the album, his main contribution being the addition and arrangement of brass parts on "All Wrapped Up" and Locomotion,[1] the last track to be completed and the first to be released as a single prior to the album.


Junk Culture was released on 30 April 1984 and entered the UK Albums Chart a week later, the same week that the single "Locomotion" was at its chart peak of no. 5. Limited pressings of the vinyl LP came with a free one-sided 7" single featuring the track "(The Angels Keep Turning) The Wheels of the Universe", thus boosting initial sales. The album entered the UK chart at no. 9, outselling the new album by contemporaries The Cure (The Top), although beaten by fellow Liverpudlians Echo & the Bunnymen whose Ocean Rain entered at no. 4. All three albums gradually dropped down the charts in successive weeks.[4] Sales of Junk Culture were boosted once more during the release of the second single "Talking Loud and Clear", although it dropped out of the Top 40 all together in August.[5]

As with previous albums, the cover artwork was designed by Peter Saville Associates.

Junk Culture was the first OMD album to be released contemporaneously on all three formats of vinyl, cassette and compact disc.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Calgary HeraldA[7]
Encyclopedia of Eighties Music[8]
Louder Than War8.5/10[9]
Smash Hits7/10[10]
The Village VoiceB[11]


Junk Culture met with a mostly unfavourable reaction from the English music press.[12] NME wrote that the album is "never fresh or dynamic – all too predictable", while What Hi-Fi? felt it "seems to lack some of the substance of previous albums". Melody Maker asked: "Is there anyone who will care about OMD now having been let down again?"[12] That publication's Lynden Barber disapproved of the lyrically aggressive "White Trash", calling it "offensive, irresponsible garbage".[13]

Conversely, Robin Smith gave a positive review for Record Mirror in which he described the album as "smooth, warm and powerful – a living, breathing musical menagerie filled with a hard core of ideas culled from virtually the four corners of the world".[12] Johnny Black in Smash Hits portrayed the record as "infinitely more accessible than the last album [Dazzle Ships]... but still reveals some brave moves." He added however that "moments that turn excellence into magic are fewer and further between".[14]

Reviews among England's mainstream press were more positive.[12] In The Guardian, Robin Denselow referred to a "fifth album that's bursting with life and enthusiasm", which combines previously exhibited skills with "a cheerful dose of pop, dance styles and even R&B and Latin influences to produce an unusual and catchy set of songs".[15]

James Muretich in the Calgary Herald described Junk Culture as "glorious... a subtle, seductive pop recording with brains to boot".[7] Sydney Morning Herald critic Henry Everingham noted that "nearly every song has the word 'single' stamped on it",[16] while Evelyn Erskine in the Ottawa Citizen remarked: "Of the countless bands that make up the synth-pop invasion, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark has shown a greater ability to progress creatively than most... The mood is enhanced by the band's deft use of experimental techniques."[17] Carl Brown Jr. in the Reading Eagle praised "Never Turn Away" but was overall unfavourable, stating that only three songs on the record are worth listening to.[18]


The Arizona Daily Star's resident critic, M. Scot Skinner, placed Junk Culture second in a list of 1984's 20 best albums.[19] In naming the 10 best albums of the year for the St. Petersburg Times, reviewer Anne Hull ranked Junk Culture fourth.[20] In a 2013 online poll, it was voted the 35th best album of 1984 based on the opinions of over 35,000 respondents.[21]

AllMusic journalist Ned Raggett wrote: "Junk Culture exhibits all the best qualities of OMD at their most accessible — instantly memorable melodies and McCluskey's distinct singing voice, clever but emotional lyrics, and fine playing all around."[6] Trouser Press asserted: "Junk Culture is much stronger [than Dazzle Ships], pulling away further from sparkling pop while retaining smart melodies in far denser and newly dance-based styles. 'Tesla Girls' employs scratch production to great effect while fixing on science as a clever lyrical base (shades of Sparks); the rhythm-heavy 'Locomotion' and the more fanciful 'Talking Loud and Clear' are likewise ace tracks."[22] John Bergstrom in PopMatters wrote: "Junk Culture was not OMD's most acclaimed album, but it just might be a perfectly efficient primer on what makes the British synthesizer band so special." Bergstrom noted that much of the record's sound was darker than typical synthpop music of the era,[23] and both he and Raggett had particular praise for the album's singles.[6][23] Louder Than War critic Paul Scott-Bates said the LP has no filler, and is "simply one of those timeless albums".[9]

Tony Kanal of rock band No Doubt called Junk Culture a "great" record.[24] Both Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys conceded that the commercial disappointment of Dazzle Ships caused OMD to become "safer" on Junk Culture, but nevertheless consider it to be a strong album.[25]

Deluxe reissue (2015)

A deluxe CD re-issue of the album was announced via the band's official website and Facebook page on 17 December 2014, and was released on 2 February 2015.[26] The deluxe edition included the remastered original album and a bonus disc with a collection of B-sides and extended mixes, many of which had not been previously released on CD. Five previously unreleased tracks were also featured, including "All Or Nothing" featuring Paul Humphreys on vocals, "10 to 1", and three demos.[27] A pre-release 'deluxe edition' cover image was released although it was quickly pointed out that the band's name had been misspelt with "Manouvres" instead of "Manoeuvres". This error was rectified in time for the actual release, although shortly afterwards fans alerted the band and the label to a number of bonus disc errors that had slipped through, and Universal Music had to re-manufacture the disc.

Bonus disc errors include listing of the B-side "Wrappup;" in its place, the album track "All Wrapped Up" is repeated. The disc also lacks the full 12" version of "Talking Loud and Clear", and includes an edit of the extended version. Andy McCluskey stated that the track was edited "in order to get the five unreleased tracks on the CD". The full version is available only on the original 12" release and So80s Presents Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.[28]

Finally it was discovered that a brand new edit of "Tesla Girls" was included on CD1 instead of a straight remaster of the original album version. This disc however was not re-manufactured and this version remains unique to this release.[29]

Previously unreleased tracks

  • "10 to 1" is a song with vocals by Andy McCluskey which would later become the album track "Love and Violence" and features some of the same lyrics
  • "All Or Nothing" is a slower track featuring Paul Humphreys on vocals.
  • "Heaven Is (Highland Studios demo)" - this song was originally played live on OMD's showcase tour in the autumn of 1983 – as were tracks such as "Junk Culture", "Tesla Girls" and "Never Turn Away" – but never made it to the album ("Heaven Is" also nearly made 1986 LP The Pacific Age[30]). A new version was included on the 1993 Liberator album.
  • "Tesla Girls (Highland Studios demo)" / "White Trash (Highland Studios demo)" - both songs eventually made it to the album.

B-sides "The Avenue", "Wrappup", the re-recorded version of "Julia's Song" and extended mixes of "Tesla Girls", "Never Turn Away" and "Talking Loud and Clear" were available on CD for the first time.

"Julia's Song (Dub Version)" 10" single

"Julia's Song (Dub Version)" was kept as a special limited edition 10" release for the 2015 Record Store Day. It is the same track as the first part of "Julia's Song (Extended Version)", B-side to the 1984 "Talking Loud And Clear" 12" single, the second part of which was included on the Junk Culture Deluxe bonus CD. The track "10 to 1" was used as the B-side to this release.[31] The original version of "Julia's Song" appears on the band's debut album Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (1980).

Track listing

  • Label copy credits: All songs written by OMD.
  • The US release has a modified track listing, shifting "Junk Culture" to track 3, between "Locomotion" and "Apollo", therefore opening with "Tesla Girls".[32]
  • Writing credits below from ASCAP database.[33]
Side one
1."Junk Culture"Paul Humphreys, Andy McCluskey4:06
2."Tesla Girls"Humphreys, McCluskey3:51
3."Locomotion"Humphreys, McCluskey, Gordian Troeller3:53
5."Never Turn Away"Humphreys, McCluskey3:57
Side two
6."Love and Violence"Humphreys, McCluskey4:40
7."Hard Day"Humphreys, McCluskey5:59
8."All Wrapped Up"Humphreys, McCluskey4:25
9."White Trash"Humphreys, McCluskey, Martin Cooper4:35
10."Talking Loud and Clear"Humphreys, McCluskey, Cooper4:20
Side three (free one-sided 7" single included with initial pressing of the album)
11."(The Angels Keep Turning) The Wheels of the Universe"OMD4:54
Bonus tracks on 2015 CD reissue: Disc two
1."Her Body in My Soul" (b-side of "Locomotion")OMD4:41
2."The Avenue" (b-side of "Locomotion")OMD4:10
3."Julia's Song (Re-Record)" (b-side of "Talking Loud and Clear")Humphreys, McCluskey; Julia Kneale4:18
4."Garden City" (b-side of "Tesla Girls")OMD4:04
5."Wrappup" (remix of "All Wrapped Up", b-side of "Never Turn Away")Humphreys, McCluskey4:01
6."Locomotion (12" Version)"Humphreys, McCluskey, Troeller5:17
7."Tesla Girls (12" Version)" (also known as 'Extended Version')Humphreys, McCluskey4:31
8."Talking Loud and Clear (12" Version)" (also known as 'Extended Version')Humphreys, McCluskey, Cooper6:12
9."Never Turn Away (12" Version)" (also known as 'Extended Version')Humphreys, McCluskey6:29
10."(The Angels Keep Turning) The Wheels of the Universe"OMD4:54
11."10 to 1"OMD4:07
12."All or Nothing"OMD3:44
13."Heaven Is (Highland Studios demo)"OMD6:09
14."Tesla Girls (Highland Studios demo)"Humphreys, McCluskey4:01
15."White Trash (Highland Studios demo)"Humphreys, McCluskey, Cooper3:39

(Tracks 11–15 previously unreleased)


Group members:

Additional performers:

  • Gordan Troeller: piano on "Locomotion", Roland Jupiter-8 on "White Trash"
  • Maureen Humphreys: vocals on "Tesla Girls"
  • Jan Faas, Jan Vennik, Bart van Lier: brass section on "Locomotion" and "All Wrapped Up"
  • Tony Visconti: brass arrangements on "Locomotion" and "All Wrapped Up"
  • Bob Ludwig: Mastering


  1. Junk Culture Deluxe booklet notes.
  2. "OMD - 1983 gigs: 6-10 September 1983". omd-live.com. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  3. "OMD gig history index - 1983: 9th September 1983 - Manchester The Factory Club, UK". omd-live.com. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  4. "Official Albums Chart Top 100, 06 May 1984 – 12 May 1984". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  5. "OFFICIAL ALBUMS CHART RESULTS MATCHING: JUNK CULTURE". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  6. Raggett, Ned. "Junk Culture – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  7. Muretich, James (19 May 1984). "Orchestral Manoeuvres regains lost sound". Calgary Herald. Google News Archive. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  8. Larkin, Colin (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music. Virgin Books. p. 350. ISBN 0753501597.
  9. Scott-Bates, Paul (16 March 2015). "Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: Junk Culture Deluxe Edition – album review". Louder Than War. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  10. Black, Johnny (26 April 1984). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Junk Culture". Smash Hits. London: 23.
  11. Christgau, Robert (28 May 1985). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  12. Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike. Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1987. ISBN 0-283-99234-4. p. 131–132.
  13. Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike. Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1987. ISBN 0-283-99234-4. p. 129.
  14. Black, Johnny (26 April 1984). "Album Reviews (OMD – 'Junk Culture')". Smash Hits. 6 (9): 23.
  15. "Muddled Waters". The Guardian. 26 April 1984. p. 12. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  16. Everingham, Henry (9 July 1984). "Junk Culture. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". The Sydney Morning Herald. Google News Archive. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  17. Erskine, Evelyn (25 May 1984). "Junk Culture review". Ottawa Citizen. Google News Archive. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  18. Brown Jr., Carl (6 January 1985). "Junk Culture, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Reading Eagle. Google News Archive. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  19. "Star's top 20 albums pulsate from Prince to Van Halen". Arizona Daily Star. 6 January 1985. p. 43 (section E, p.1). Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  20. "Reviewers pick the best records of '84". St. Petersburg Times. 23 December 1984. p. 66 (2E). Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  21. "Top 100 Albums of 1984: Slicing Up Eyeballs' Best of the '80s — Part 5". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  22. "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Junk Culture". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  23. "The 30 Best Album Re-Issues of 2015". PopMatters. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  24. Marchese, David (24 September 2012). "No Doubt Explain OMD, EDM, and Peter Hook Basslines on 'Push and Shove'". Spin. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  25. "OMD interview - Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys (part 3)". FaceCulture. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  26. "Junk Culture Reissue". omd.uk.com. 17 December 2014. Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  27. "OMD / Junk Culture deluxe reissue". superdeluxeedition.com. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  28. "Recording - Talking Loud and Clear (extended version)". musicbrainz.com. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  29. "Universal to repress OMD deluxe CD". superdeluxeedition.com. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  30. Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike. Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1987. ISBN 0-283-99234-4. p. 169.
  31. "title of web page". website.com. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  32. "Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Junk Culture, vinyl LP, A&M Records SP-5027". discogs.com. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  33. "ASCAP (THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS)". Retrieved 3 May 2015. searchable database (search Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark/OMD/O.M.D.
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