Kraftwerk's residency at the Tate Modern earlier this year seemed to serve as a reminder of just how continental, how inherently un-English the group are.
So it's a curious contradiction that the band became the starting point for a new British pop tradition. Compact melodies attached to the latest technology, their brooding sense of Futurism inspired a generation of post-punk kids to put down their guitar and pick up a synthesiser.
OMD were foremost amongst them. Early Factory signings, the band epitomised the artful side of British pop music which pulls down the barriers of the mainstream. Still releasing engaging new material, OMD have decided to go full circle with their new single.
'Metroland' is a tale of future planning gone wrong, of technology interacting with human behaviours and mindsets. There's a debt to Kraftwerk – specifically 'Trans Europe Express' – and this is something which really comes through in the new video.
An animated clip, it features a very English train journey. There's a curious parallel to labels such as Ghost Box here, an adherence to a British pop tradition which is both ground breaking and well defined, curiously ancient and blissfully modern. Here's a quote from Andy McCluskey: “The song is inspired by the early 20th Century London Metropolitan Railway Line campaign slogan to “come and live in Metroland.” So many commuters moved from the smoky capital that the very rural idyll they sought was swamped by miles of mock Tudor suburb. The act of reaching for Utopia destroys it.”
Watch it now.
– – –
'Metroland' is set to be released on March 25th – new album 'English Electric' follows on April 8th.