OMD is back with its classic sound

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Friday, March 4, 2011

OMD "History of Modern"

Kindred spirits: Depeche Mode, LCD Soundsystem, Kraftwerk

Show: Thursday at the 9:30 Club. Doors open at 7 p.m. 202-265-0930.$35.

"History of Modern" is OMD's first album in decades. But longtime fans can rejoice: Much of the album retains the band's classic melodic sound.

In its 1980s heyday, OMD was at the fore of the synth-pop movement. "History of Modern" sounds like what you would expect from musical innovators returning after a generation: It's OMD 2.0 on tracks such as "Pulse," featuring a danceable, electro R&B sound. The best songs combine electro-pop with shimmering synth hooks: "Sister Mary Says," which was written in 1981, and "Save Me," which samples Aretha Franklin's vocals from the song of the same name.

On such tracks as "History of Modern (Part I)," with its driving bass drum, and "RFWK," a tribute to Kraftwerk, the band has returned to what cemented its groundbreaking reputation in the first place. Its legacy is such that what was once daringly innovative is now de rigueur, and "History of Modern" reminds us where much of what we hear today began.

- Benjamin Opipari

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