Mar. 12th, 2015

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Mar. 12th, 2015 12:08 pm
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Ah hey ma ma ma ma...
4 Out Of 5 Stars

Long overdue but well worth the wait, "The Morning Lasted All Day" finally collects a solid set of The Dream Academy's best from their three albums, a few B-sides and oddities and the brand new "Sunrising." Augmented with a comprehensive booklet written by Nick Laird-Clowes, exquisitely remastered with his supervision, this is about as good a Dream Academy anthology as a fan could hope for.

While it naturally is heavily weighted in favor of their dynamic debut, both "Remembrance Days" and "A Different Kind Of Weather" are given exposure. (I've always been of the mindset that "Weather," despite the fact that it didn't even chart in the US, has been vastly underrated.) The band's chamber-pop gets much of its otherworldliness from Kate St. John's oboe and other reed instruments flowing beneath Laird-Clowes' folkish guitars and vocal delivery. There's a lovely sort of soft focus to many of their songs that made the majority of them difficult to fit in during the synth-heavy 80's, leaving such contenders as "Indian Summer" and "Power To Believe" (included here both in its instrumental version as heard on the "Planes Trains and Automobiles" soundtrack, and the vocal version from "Remembrance Days") frozen out of the top 40.

The ethereal quality of their songs a times masked the presence of noteworthy contributors. Friend of the band and Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour was a frequent collaborator and co-producer, Lindsay Buckingham co-producing and adding background vocals to "Indian Summer," and The Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr playing on "Ballad In 4/4." It takes away nothing from the band's presentation, even offering proof just how powerful The Dream Academy 'sound' was to all the stages of the band's recording history.

I have a few of my own favorites to recommend as a fan, one of them being the lovely version of John Lennon's "Love," as featured on "Weather." Actually using a drum-loop, Laird-Clowes brings an emphasis to Lennon's message (including a portion of "#9 Dream") that few covers of Lennon have done. The cover of The Smiths' "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" is good for a smile, and I have always thought "Indian Summer" was a single cheated out of deserved hit status. Then there's "Sunrising," the first new Dream Academy song in 30 years. It's a welcome treat and fits in with the band's legacy, with Gilbert Gabriel's piano painting the mood (alas, St.John is not featured on it).

Even with that minor wish not coming true, I am very happy to have "The Morning Lasted All Day" to augment my original CD's of The Dream Academy. The remastering enables you to hear things that were tempered in the originals, and makes for a satisfying listening experience. Now if only the original albums could get the deluxe treatment....

   

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