Dalek I Love You ‘Dalek I Love You ‘ (Korova, 1983)

I was introduced to the music of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark when I was 15. By the time I was 17, I was besotted with the band and had become the local OMD expert (there wasn’t a lot of competition for the role in rural Shropshire, mind). I was able to reel off chart positions, track listings, release dates and anything else you could possibly want to know about the Wirral synthsters, including a consummate list of other musical projects that members of the band had been involved with over the years.

One such project was a band called Dalek I Love You, also from the Wirral, who put out three albums and a handful of singles between 1979 and 1986. The group’s notoriously fluid line-up briefly included three musicians (among them, Andy McCluskey) who would go on to be in OMD. The one constant creative force throughout their short-lived career was Alan Gill, who is perhaps best known as the co-writer of The Teardrop Explodes’ defining 1981 single, ‘Reward’.

Not that Dalek I Love You remotely resembled The Teardrop Explodes, or indeed OMD. They had an eccentric, gently experimental sound all of their own, which was arguably at its most idiosyncratic on the band’s eponymous second album, released in 1983.

Opening with the eerie, offbeat funk of ‘Holiday In Disneyland’, ‘Dalek I Love You’ leads its listeners on a paranoia-laced jaunt marked by zippy synthesisers and macabre lyrics, as well as surprisingly honeyed melodies that keep tracks like ‘Horrorscope’ (“Tonight’s ideal for planning a crime / If you lived through June”) and ‘Ambition’ (“Look good / Get smart / Smell nice / Work hard”) from falling headfirst into a sea of busy rhythm sections and demented sentiment.

Despite its undeniable madness, the album is still a fresh and enjoyable listen almost 40 years after it was recorded. Alas, few people seem to have recognised its worth, and ‘Dalek I Love You’ remains unfairly confined to the realms of obscurity, the allure of its zany yet driven sound often left unsung, even in early 80s new wave circles.

I spoke to Alan Gill on the telephone just before writing this piece, and I asked what he’d been up to recently. He told me that his most recent commercial music project was a psychedelic/jazz-influenced band called The Most High. He also mentioned that, prior to our conversation, he’d listened to ‘Dalek I Love You’ for the first time in 25 years and had come to the conclusion that it still sounded OK. Your ‘Understatement Of The Year’ award is in the post, Mr Gill.

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