The Dream Academy – The Dream Academy
Warner Bros/Blanco Y Negro, 1985
Acquired: Love Garden (Blowout Location), Used, 2009
Though released the same year as JAMC's Psychocandy and on the same label, this sounds nothing like that record. Basically, this record is a vehicle for “Life in a Northern Town,” which despite being a tribute to Nick Drake (I didn't know that until today) is a song you might not be able to recall immediately based on the title. But you have heard it, and you have heard it a million times in the background. “The Edge of Forever,” however, which is best known for its use in Ferris Beuller's Day Off, is kind of a jam (the drum machine sells it, though). Actually, re-listening to “Life in a Northern Town” I'm realizing how well written it is. There's a lot in common with British twee pop, the orchestration is just a little overblown and that “ah hey ah ma ma ma” thing is annoying, but that's the hook, so what're you gonna do? Maybe overblown is too harsh, just the chorus. It's too epic sounding when the song feels like it should be more introverted. The verses are lovely though, the strings fit perfectly but yeah, too much on the chorus. I pretty much bought this for Jenny, who loves this cheesy 80s shit, and the Dream Academy in particular (she has some sort of greatest hits thing on her iPod and they almost always come on when we're driving). Plus, at $3 it's hard to turn a cheesy gem like this down (even though it's not as cheesy as what I would typically refer to as cheesy).