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The Dream Academy

The appropriately named Dream Academy, an English folk-rock trio who hit it big in the early 1980s with the bucolic, Baroque pop single "Life in a Northern Town," formed in London in 1983 around the considerable talents of vocalist/guitarist Nick Laird-Clowes, multi-instrumentalist (primarily oboe) Kate St. John, and keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel. Having come from similar musical backgrounds (Clowes and Gabriel had worked together in the '70s while St. John had performed and recorded alongside Nicky Holland, and Virginia Ashley with the dream pop outfit the Ravishing Beauties, the newly minted Dream Academy settled into their signature blend of airy Paisley Underground-inspired psych-folk and ornate, English chamber pop right out of the gate. After a two-year period spent shopping demos, the band inked a deal with Warner Bros. and began work on their debut album. Co-produced by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, who was a longtime friend of Clowes', the eponymous 1985 release yielded a trio of singles in the aforementioned "Life in a Northern Town," which was an elegy for the late English singer/songwriter Nick Drake, "The Love Parade," and the evocative "Edge of Forever," the latter of which made a memorable appearance near the end of the 1986 John Hughes comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off. 1987's Hugh Padgham-co-produced Remembrance Days, despite a handful of memorable titles like "Here," the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles-featured "Power to Believe," and the thunderous "Indian Summer," an admirable attempt at capturing the sonic grandeur of "Life in a Northern Town," failed to make much of an impact on the charts, and the band went into a period of seclusion. The trio emerged in 1991 with their third and final studio album, A Different Kind of Weather. Co-produced once again by David Gilmour (Clowes would eventually return the favor by contributing lyrics to a pair of songs on Pink Floyd's 1994 release the Division Bell), the album received some critical acclaim due to standout cuts like the Gilmour co-penned "Twelve-Eight Angel" and a propulsive, loop-driven cover of John Lennon's "Love," yet bubbled far enough under the radar that the trio would officially disband the following year. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi
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Comments

I heard Nick has some new stuff out !! Love this band, always!
'Life in a nothern town is one of my favorite songs...defi n a t e l y a desert island pick
garymendes15
Great band....like many of you said, they came to early in life's timeline. Ahead if their time.
Thank you Pandora! Just when I think there cannot be a more atmospheric and undescribabl e song by these guys, you find another one. Well done. It's as if Nick Drake has found solitude.
nick co-wrote some of the songs on pink floyd's division bell just an fyi...and i think he re-emerged around the late 90's as trashmonk or something like that...
For me, Life In A Northern Town was not only timeless, but also ubiquitous. It was many years later before I knew that it was Dream Academy (a group of normally mortal humans) that created that song. I love it, but it has some extraterrest r i a l aspects, it hovers over multiple decades and countries like a star, ungrounded.

For me, the real measure of this band is the song Power To Believe. That song is deeply hooked in time and place and could probably only have come from The Dream Academy.
kingfamilyba
Always loved this song . . . haven't heard it for years.
this was an awesome song! it always takes u back 2 one place in time..
cowniew
Nothing special. But i give them some credit for trying to do something different.
Agreed, Levy. This is really music of the 2000s, not the 80s. They were visionaries, but it's evident that bands like the Decemberists were strongly influenced by them.
it's a shame that some artist peak before their time. i would love to hear what this group could do in today's musical climate. they could be this eras radiohead, coldplay or dido.
i loved this song when it came out. it was a time when i was discovering passion and pain in life. heavy stuff. this song helped. it was 20 years later that i finally discovered nick drake.
btw, a late 90's rap song used the synth chorus.
actually, kenneth, sad to say we have had more snow since March 1 than we did all winter...... a n d lots, lots of rain.......t h i s song still helps when I get the blues!
This is one of the great, overlooked 80's classics of all time..Carla, don't you mean snow instead of rain? LOL I come across these classics on Pandora and hardly anyone ever comments on them! This song has been remade by a country group actually!
i love "life in a northern town"....... . . r e m i n d s me of curling up by my fireplace, with a mug of hot tea, watching the rain coming down........ t h e r e were some really dark periods in my life, but the music always helped me hang in there.

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