Navigation - The OMD B-Sides

Navigation – Release Date 28/09/98

Almost
I Betray My Friends
Waiting For The Man
Annex
Sacred Heart
The Romance Of The Telescope
Navigation
4-Neu
66 & Fading (Edit)
Her Body In My Soul
The Avenue
Garden City
Concrete Hands
Firegun
This Town
Gravity Never Fails
Burning
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 left...black 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.