The English group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – later known simply as OMD – laid the groundwork for the many faces of 1980s synthpop, exploring the mechanical and minimal as well as straightforward pop music in various combinations since their formation in 1978. They first gained popularity thoughout Europe with the 1980 anti-war song Enola Gay and the 1981 LP Architecture & Morality, with three international hit singles. Reacting to critical response and the geopolitical climate of the time, they followed it up with Dazzle Ships (1983), an experimental, musique concrete-influenced record that incorporated sound collages to make points about the Cold War and technology. The alienation-themed album alienated their listeners and critics alike, leading them to record their most straightforward pop LP, 1984's Junk Culture; Dazzle Ships was reappraised in the years that followed and cited as an inspiration by members of Radiohead, Animal Collective, Low and Future Islands, to name a few.
Despite commercial success in the late 1980s, the group split in 1989, leaving frontman Andy McCluskey the sole remaining member; McCluskey released a series of period-appropriate dance pop records in the 1990s as OMD before retiring the moniker in 1996. In 2006, the outfit reformed with original keyboardist Paul Humphreys back in the fold, and began to work on material more akin to their early output. The band re-established themselves as a chart act, and kept on touring extensively. They released three acclaimed albums since – History of Modern in 2010, English Electric in 2013 and The Punishment of Luxury in 2017. OMD's fourteenth studio album, Bauhaus Staircase, is set for release on 27 October 2023; McCluskey has said it is likely to be the band's last.