"The fact that OMD--or rather, Andy McCluskey--can do his worst and still sound reasonably good, is adequate testimony of OMD's musical competence. This disc is witness to that. It's unlikely that you'll ever bump into an OMD fan (that is, someone who's familiar with OMD's catalog beyond "If You Leave"). But in the rare event that you do, there's an even slimmer chance that you'll find a fan who considers "Liberator" a masterful work of sonic genius. This CD lacks, among other things, the unconventional, innovative elements of "Architecture and Morality," the ethereal splendor of "Organisation," and most disappointingly, the emotional charge evident throughout the first half of OMD's library. Even the immediate predecessor to this disc ("Sugar Tax") with its quasi-sobbing and desperate lyrics beared some semblance to those early gems which proved that not all synthpop bands were unsoulful, vapid white boys. To the contrary, OMD was appropriately recognized within the right circles as something of a musical anamoly: here was evidence that you could, in fact, marry computer commands and synthetic sounds with painfully sincere human emotion and produce something legitimate.Unfortunately, that sense of pioneering is blatantly absent on "Liberator." If it's possible for great artists to be influenced by lesser-quality sell-outs, this CD would be exhibit A--the mastermind of McCluskey haunted by the ghost of Ace of Base. Songs like "King of Stone," "Love and Hate You," and "Heaven Is" all fall short of OMD's previous standards. Blame all the programming-heavy noises on this album which leave precious little room for ingenuity.And speaking of noises, it's necessary to address the "instrumentation" on this album. By nature of the definition of synthpop (which is what OMD used to be), you can't clutter up your sound with too many traditional instruments. So it's okay that the liner notes for "Liberator" acknowledge only two "real" instruments for their sparse inclusion, guitar and piano. But if you're going to fill up on synthesized sounds, at least choose something that tastes good (e.g. nearly any B-side from the Pet Shop Boys). Instead, "Liberator" is dance-emphatic with only minimal nods to the original synthpop agenda of invention.It's not all unbearable though. Standout tracks like "Christine," and the beautifully contemporary take on "Sunday Morning" will remind some discriminate listeners that McCluskey is not helpless without Paul Humphries. Moreover, "Everyday" benefits from a well constructed sequencer track, while "Dream of Me" is pure bliss. So for those of us who can forgive McCluskey for appealing to commercialism, there is some solace in the fact that even a bad OMD album is still...good."
Not ground-breaking but filled with beautiful dance melodies
nycgirl | new york city | 10/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album really isn't as bad as you think. It may not be progressive or truly brilliant (i.e. Sugar Tax), but it's total no-brainer: eh, easy to like, easy to listen to. The overall feel of this album is upbeat and joyous. In fact, it's a little TOO happyhappyjoyjoy (almost like Erasure, which i'm not fond of.) If you are looking for a that melancholy synthpop vibe, you won't really find it here. However, this album IS worth your money b/c of the amazing, amazing track "Christine" which will bring you to your knees in tears. Absolutely stunning and i guarantee you will agree. Everyone who has heard "Christine" falls in love with the track. 'Dream of Me'is another ecstasy-dreamy-beat that whips you into watery dance unsconsciousness, with angelic female vocals. "Heaven Is" is an awesome, addictive dance track that really gets you moving. The most progressive track is probably "Agnus Dei" which really shows off OMD's electronic beginnings - A chorale of heavenly voices spouting "Agnus Dei" and other unidentifiable phrases melded, cut, scratched and broken into a hard techno frenzy that speeds faster and faster--and then lulls to a stop, then starts again. Early 90s rave right there. The rest of the songs arent' breaking new ground---but none are so horrible that you have to skip them, either. like i said, they are enjoyable and danceable; you will find pieces of the melody in each song that is so beautiful. Should you get this album? YES, if you want gorgeous instrumentals and heavenly dance."
Timothy Karlberg | 06/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure why people seem to dismiss this album as dance/tripe, but as far as I'm concerned, it is one of the best cd's O.M.D. ever released. Right up there with "Sugar Tax". There is depth in these songs, you just have to listen. The opening track "Stand Above Me" is a great song and I love the backing vocal parts near the end. "Everday" has excellent bass and is a danceable track, but the words are meaningful and deep. My favorite track on the album "King of Stone" is often overlooked, but connects with me strongly. After the great dance track "Dollar Girl", we have "Dream Of Me" which is on the singles cd. It's good, but not one of my favorites and shouldn't have been a single(if it was). "Sunday Morning" is great and almost sounds like "La Femme Accident". "Agnus Dei" is a sort of instrumental acidhouse type experiment that takes a few listens to really enjoy, probably the worst song on the cd, though. "Love You And Hate You" is excellent and very sing-along. "Heaven Is" almost could be an Erasure song, but I really like it also. The last 3 songs on the cd are perhaps the best ones-"Best Years Of Our Lives","Christine" & "Only Tears". In particular, I love "Only Tears" and wish it would go on longer. Overall a SUPER album with every track a quality one. OMD seemed to get better and better with each album in my opinion...and definately get "Universal"-it's a great thematic album."
One of their best albums
Amartuvshin Zuunnast | SF, CA, USA | 11/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Liberator" by OMD might sound a little bit off for early day OMD fans, but we have to agree that some songs here are a grade A pop tunes. Songs like "Christine", "Only tears" are very addictive, well anyway try and listen to this CD two or three times and you'll see how it'll grow on you."