Sunday, July 9, 2017

DREAM ACADEMY-A Different Kind Of Weather (1990)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: July 9, 2017

I've headed back to the really old school with my 90's synthpop music-listening.....and that statement turns out to be a figurative one on a couple of different accounts. The British bunch that called itself THE DREAM ACADEMY may best be remembered for their timeless ambient pop hit, "Life In A Northern Town", which is instantly recognized by its distinctive chorus featuring those chanting, ethnic unified voices ('a-hey-ya-bom-bom') and the lofty, dreamy rhythm. I've previously had the chance to tune in beyond that memorable hit when I heard the other songs accompanying it on the 1985 album from which it can be found. Today, I wanted to journey even further, and that desire resulted in the forty-three minute mini-adventure that I had with their final studio album, "A Different Kind Of Weather". Yeah, I'd say it's quite different from what I had expected alright; the part of me that still had echoes of "Life In A Northern Town" vibrating in my mental jukebox influenced that notion. What I'd discovered is something on the borderline of new wave rock and mainstream synthpop, with a touch of that dreamy "Life In A Northern Town" ambiance sprinkled here and there. There's some songs that are a nice simple breeze ("Love", "Waterloo") while others are of that catchy, bouncy 80's synthpop variety with the great hooks ("Mercy Killing", "Lucy September" and "Twelve-Eight Angel"). I gotta elaborate more on the "Twelve-Eight Angel" track, which captivated me once I started to listen deeper to the intriguing religious words of the chorus, not having figured out exactly what message is being sent when the lead guy sings about the pack of wild sinners searching for a Holy cu[p. Besides the curious words and the even curiouser title (I had something about clocks and an imposing heavenly, celestial figure conjured up in my mind), the production here is fabulous, noting in particular how the bouncy rhythm reminded me somewhat of the TEARS FOR FEARS hit, "Everybody Wants To Rule The World". My knack for noting music soundalikes popped up again on the warming tune that is "St. Valentine's Day"; the beat almost sounds like a slower version of that featured on the BOW WOW WOW hit, "I Want Candy". Those echoes of "Life In Northern Town" pounded in my head even louder once I got to the haunting gem entitled "Forest Fire", which speaks symbolically about a land that we're all helping to burn down. Those ethnic unified voices return again, and they contribute to the song's gripping nature while the lead guy shows off some impressive vocal range against the mellow tonality and the slowed rhythm. And those same "Life In A Northern Town" echoes and ethnic chants vibrated once more on "Lovelands". An interesting adventure this was, I must say, for an 80's music disciple who's taken years to re-enroll back into THE DREAM ACADEMY:

1. Love
2. Mercy Killing
3. Lucy September
4. Gaby Says
5. Waterloo
6. Twelve-Eight Angel
7. St. Valentine's Day
8. It'll Never Happen Again
9. Forest Fire
10. Lowlands
11. Not For Second Prize

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