One of the bands that could truly be labeled synthpop pioneers, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, is back in action. Yes, all four members from the classic lineup are in the fold, and presumably rested and ready for another run at musical glory. Not only have they completed a fresh album (called History of Modern), they've also shown definite signs of having fun in the studio. Exhibit A: This pitch-perfect cover of The xx's "VCR."
If that name doesn't ring a bell, The xx are the UK indie group that won the 2010 Mercury Prize, and swept the critics' polls in 2009 with their self-titled debut. Their low-key, original version of "VCR" can be heard here.
The revitalized OMD pull off something special in this "rough mix." They take a track that seemed absolutely fresh and distinctive, and reveal that the song's grandparents just might have included "If You Leave" and perhaps "Enola Gay." (OK, the xx have yet to write anything as peppy as that last one, but a fellow can dream.)
It's so great to see a band that could be wrapped up in their deep back catalogue, or in their latest studio work, take a chance to connect with a younger audience. And to do such a brilliant job of interpreting a minimal track without trampling its spirit is truly thrilling. Welcome back, OMD!