Navigation - The OMD B-Sides

Navigation – Release Date 28/09/98

I Betray My Friends
Waiting For The Man
Sacred Heart
The Romance Of The Telescope
66 & Fading (Edit)
Her Body In My Soul
The Avenue
Garden City
Concrete Hands
This Town
Gravity Never Fails
Sugar Tax
(The Angels Keep Turning) The Wheels Of The Universe

 I think it is safe to say that there are not many bands who would be able to compile an album of B-sides- that is to say, there are not many bands who would be able to compile an album of half-decent B-sides, and not just songs that sound like they were hurriedly written, recorded and thrown together at the last minute.

This album demonstrates, however, that OMD are definitely an exception; every song seems to have been written with great care, resulting in a album of beautifully-crafted tracks, most of which could even have been released as singles- give or take the odd expletive.

'Waiting For The Man' (originally written by Lou Reed for The Velvet Underground) is typical early OMD- McCluskey's almost-shouted vocals perfectly at odds with Humphrey's sweeping synth melodies. 'Almost' and 'I Betray My Friends' are in a similar vein, and also prove the group's ability as flexible songwriters.

'Her Body In My Soul' (the B-side of 1984 single 'Locomotion') is another stand-out track- it's earwormy repetitiveness coupled with subtle changes in the lyrics as the track progresses ('black rose in my pocket/was all she rose in my pocket/ was all but dead') makes it seem like a desperate cry for help, perhaps from the mind of one that is slightly insane. In contrast, 'Garden City' tells us of a dream world- 'trading heaven for a living/ where we'll never ever ever grow old'.

In fact, if nothing else, this is what this album is worth listening to for- the sheer contrast of material. To have songs like the haunting 'Romance of the Telescope', as well as the oddly upbeat 'This Town' in a back catalogue of B-sides, surely proves that OMD are a group who can turn their hand to almost anything.