IT is the anti-war anthem that became the signature tune of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, writes David Morgan.

But Enola Gay, a song about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War, was not so much a protest of the nuclear age but a tribute to the band’s love of model aircraft.

Frontman Andy McCluskey - born and bred in Meols - said: “When we were writing music we wanted to avoid what we saw as rock and roll clichés, especially lyrics like: ‘I love you baby’.

“So we wrote about things we were interested in.

“Paul Humphreys and I are a pair of complete geeks and we both used to build Airfix models.

“If you’re interested in Second World War aircraft the most famous one is the Enola Gay which dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima so that’s where it started.

“But I also have a horrified fascination for warfare as I’m a person who tends to see all different sides of an argument.

“The most immoral things are done in the name of morality in warfare and without belittling the horrific incident in Hiroshima it was intriguing because there are so many different arguments about it.

“Was it done to end the war? Was it done in retribution for Pearl Harbour? Was it actually not so much the last act of the Second World War but the first act of the Cold War?

“The decision has so many angles which are fascinating and the song isn’t really a simple anti-war song. It’s reflecting all those different angles really.”

Enola Gay was released in 1980 and while its themes may be just as prevalent in a world in which nine nations possess 16,300 nuclear weapons, perhaps what is more surprising is that OMD are still performing it after 35 years.

The new wave synth pop group formed in 1978 and after a decade break between 1996 and 2006 they made a comeback.

Andy, who also created Kerry Katona’s girl group Atomic Kitten, added: “By the time we got to the mid 90s after grunge and Britpop the band was perceived as being past its sell by date.

“It felt like we were banging our heads against a brick wall so it felt appropriate to stop and do some other things.

“My youngest kids were little so I wanted to see them grow up rather than be on tour all the time.

“But when the new millennium started there seemed to be a growing interest in us again and people were asking us if we’d write songs for films or produce other artists.

“We just thought we’d put our toe back in the water and here we are swimming strongly again.”

Next for OMD is a headline set at Rewind North, an 80s festival at Capesthorne Hall on August 9.

The blast from the past will see the four-piece performing alongside the likes of The Boomtown Rats and Bananarama.

Andy said: “Every generation tends to have a soundtrack to its formative years as they take that journey from childhood to adulthood.

“And we’re fortunate that we seem to be the soundtrack for a lot of people’s journeys and they want to stand in a field and celebrate by listening to that music.

“So it really is just a remarkable festival because you just get a whole day of songs that you know and love.

“You see audience members of a certain age squeezed into some of the clothes they’ve probably dug out of the wardrobe from the 80s and partying heartily with all sorts of strange headgear on, often somewhat inebriated. It’s just a great big party, that’s all it is.”

But Andy told the Globe that he is not surprised that the acts that were ‘big in the 80s’ are big all over again today.

“Pop music, as with most other art forms whether it be film, fashion or architecture, is going around in the circles,” added the Wirral resident.

“We’re in this post modern era where essentially all forms of creativity seem to be eating their own history.

“There will be people who remember us from their youth.

“But there are also several other generations listening because these younger fans don’t have these really intense tribal affiliations there used to be with music.

“I’ve got kids in their teens and early 20s and they have a very broad selection of stuff that they’re into.

“We’re available through downloads, iTunes and YouTube and also there are a lot of younger bands who have name checked us as being influential upon them.

“As a result some of their fans check us out and so your audience keeps expanding.”

OMD made the journey from teens playing along to a backing track on a tape recorder to selling 40 million records.

“Back then we were purely experimental,” said Andy.

“Partly it was because we didn’t have any musical equipment. We built it ourselves so it just made a load of weird noises “We had no aspirations to be a pop group. Nothing was further from our minds so we were more surprised than anybody when we got a record contract. We weren’t complaining but we were surprised.”

But Andy said that performing these days without record company pressure has been like going full circle.

The 56-year-old added: “It reminds us of being teenagers because in many ways we have the freedom now to be like we were when we were young."

“We don’t to have to make something to fit anybody else’s schedule other than our own desire for creativity.”