You can dream again.
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 09/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"How sweet - the two lesser known Dream Academy albums at a budget price.
Given that most radio oriented material (i.e., hits) rely on beats, hooks and heavy dynamic probably doomed the Dream Academy to one hit wonder status after the global success of "Life In A Northern Town." That song relied deeply on atmospherics and carried onto radio on the strength of its "Hey ma ma ma" hook. At best, the most Dream Academy could hope for was to replicate that first single and hope the warm memories of their debut could help them build their success to the next level.
With "Remembrance Days," you can certainly say they tried. "Indian Summer," the melancholy diary of a May - September romance gallantly tries to recreate the mood of that first hit, but comes up short. The blame partially rests on producers Richard Daschut, Lindsay Buckingham and Hugh Padgham, who seemed intent on transforming much of Dream Academy's baroque pop more into the slicker sheen of Thompson Twins or Phil Collins. (Think "In The Air Tonight" while listening to "Humdrum.") That's not to say that "Remembrance Days" is any less an album than the debut. In fact, the best song here, "The Power To Believe" was featured in the John Hughes movie "Planes Trains and Automobiles," a song like "In Exile" shows increased musical sophistication from the debut, and "In The Hands Of Love" could have been a hit ala Thompson Twins' "Doctor Doctor." It's the album's sole cover song that is "Remembrance Days'" weakest moment, The Korgis' ballad "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime."
All in all, a marvelous moody piece of work. Worth seeking out if Renaissance music from the mid 80's is your cup of tea. 4 stars.
After the commercial indifference dealt to the Dream Academy's second album, the trio took a three year break between albums to regroup. When they reformed, it was with David Gilmour again in tow, but with this more pop than paisley effort. "A Different Kind of Weather" found the band scrambling to catch up with sounds that they were never a part of in the first place. Sugary confections like "Lucy September" held more echoes of Duran Duran/Thompson Twins than Pink Floyd and Paul Simon, and much of the baroque magic that made the first two albums so unique had disappeared.
It's obvious that The Dream Academy still had aspirations to the atmospheric pleasantries of their original sound, best captured, oddly enough, on "A Different Kind Of Weather's" two cover songs. The orchestrated version of Tim Buckley's "It'll Never Happen Again" sounds like a natural outgrowth of Laird-Clowes' melancholy, and the Hindu chants that infuse John Lennon's "Love" made that song a "shoulda-been" hit from the period when Enigma was introducing the world to "Sadeness." But despite the ambition, it was also clear that the band had run out of ideas. The sad carnival sounds that close out "Not For Second Prize" provided a symbolic coda to not only "A Different Kind Of Weather," but to The Dream Academy's lifespan as well. 3 1/2 stars."