Saturday, January 26, 2013

Vinyl Exam- The Dream Academy (1985)

This cold weather often brings memories of certain albums. The Dream Academy's 1985 self-titled release is one of them. Released in the Fall/into Winter of late 1985 and co-produced by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. Gilmour had a pretty good track record of helping young talent. He was an early supporter of Kate Bush and bands like Unicorn.

The album is one of those rare ones I enjoy start to finish. It is a quintessential 80's yet some of it's acoustic/folky elements make it it seem timeless.

It featured the smash hit they are still known by "life in a Northern Town".  The song was apparently inspired by Nick Drake and supposedly composed on a guitar he had once owned by singer Nick Laird-Clowes and keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel.  The trio was rounded out by the beautiful Kate St-john on woodwinds and backing vocals. 

The song and the video feel like a snowy winter day but there is an underlying positive, uplifting feeling to it. " felt like the world would freeze..."

I remember hearing this one in Old Navy last year and feeling happily surprised. Apparently is was used in "Ferris Bueller"? I was never a fan of that movie and even though I saw most of it, dont remember.

                                              "the Edge of Forever"

The haunting "Places on the Run"

         A realistic examination of " all the lonely people, living in the world getting nowhere"
Pino Palladino on bass.

                                                                " this World"

"Bound to Be" is probably the most playful track. Features David Gilmour on guitar and Pino Palladino from Paul Young's band . Sounds a bit like the kind of stuff Paul Weller and the Style Council were doing at the time.

                     "Bound to be"

More melancholy. A break up song. Guy Pratt who played with later day Pink Floyd plays the rubbery bass line.

                                           "Moving on"

Many of us have been to a party or bar with a significant other and things go awry. She barely pays attention to you; gabbing with girlfriends, her mean streak comes out; maybe she flirts with other guys, etc.
The one really captures those nights. 
Peter Buck from REM on guitar.

"he may fire imagination in your eyes, 
I know strong personalities are hard to find..
you messed up mine.
We've got a good thing going let's keep on tryin.."

                                               "the Party"

a great way to end the album, the sparse and jazzy, 
                                   "one Dream"

The band released two more albums that contained some gems before breaking up. Laird-Clowes went on to work on Brian Wilson's much heralded comeback album as well as co-writing some songs with David Gilmour for Pink Floyd's "Division Bell" release.

But largely he has stayed out of the limelight. He is on Twitter but rarely tweets.  He has 214 followers while the likes of Gaga, Bieber, Kardashian, ad nauseum, have millions?


I think he's a real talent that deserved greater acclaim. I wish Warner Brothers would have let him do a solo album etc.

Apparently he was going under the moniker Trashmonk for a 2001 cd, but I say "why be so obtuse"? You are a pop craftsman with a gift , get to it!

In 2009 he released a protest/cause song with help again from David Gilmour, who must still believe in him.


1 comment:

  1. 'I think he's a real talent'

    I agree....!

    Nice article...thanks.