The Dream Academy was the self-titled debut release for the art-school trio led by lead singer/guitarist Nick Laird-Clowes. Produced by David Gilmour and Laird-Clowes, the group was rounded out by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John and keyboard player Gilbert Gabriel, and they struck the first time out with the album's standout track, "Life in a Northern Town," which became a Top Ten smash in the spring of 1986. The Dream Academy used lush string arrangements and choir-like background vocals to create a sumptuous backdrop for their paisley-tinged pop. It works to best effect on "Life in a Northern Town," a slice of watercolored nostalgia with its memorable chant-like hook. Other highlights include the sax-driven "The Edge of Forever," the gentle dream recollection of "In Places on the Run," and "This World," with its somber, stark portrayal of the downtrodden. Laird-Clowes' vocals are thin, a shortcoming masked by the soft focus of the material, and the album falters a bit during the second half; however, the best material on this record leaves you longing for more.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Demalon