The Dream Academy

The Morning Lasted All Day: A Retrospective

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Morning Lasted All Day: A Retrospective begins, as it should, with "Life in a Northern Town," which was as big, bucolic, and bold a stroke of studio-polished chamber pop as one was likely to encounter in 1985, which is saying something. Co-produced by David Gilmour, that song, a folk-tinged, dream pop tribute to Nick Drake, the steamy "Love Parade," and the rapturous "Edge of Forever," the latter of which will always be accompanied by the image of Ferris Bueller locking lips with Sloane before embarking on the feverish last few minutes of his already memorable day off, occupy the first three slots on this two-disc overview, which was compiled by Academy head Nick Laird-Clowes, who also provides extensive liner notes. The Dream Academy, despite releasing two more like-minded yet spotty albums, never matched the success of their 1985 debut, and Morning Lasted All Day (the original title of "Life in a Northern Town" until Paul Simon, from whom Clowes was receiving guitar lessons at the time, convinced him otherwise) aims to rectify the situation by allowing the cream to rise to the top. At 24 tracks, it's a bit much for casual fans, but for the converted, hearing songs like the beguiling "Here" and the grand and tastefully epic "Indian Summer," neither of which have undergone any kind of significant remastering since they first appeared on CD in the late '80s, with such clarity is worth the price of admission, and the bevy of unreleased tracks includes the ambitious Kurt Weill-meets-"West End Girls"-inspired "Last Day of the War," the wistful, road trip-ready "Chosen Few" (one of two songs from the vaults to feature Gilmour on guitar), and the all-new "Sunrising," a languid, rainy morning confection that serves as the perfect closer for a winning collection of songs that were no doubt inspired by, and sometimes made in spite of, overcast skies.

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