Song Of The Day 4/8/2014: The Dream Academy - "The Party"

Sub-Hit Wonders: The Dream Academy blithely trampled into the room with "Life In A Northern Town," a vague song if ever there was, about a man who arrives in a small municipality (presumably in the north), makes some generalized proclamations about the weather, and then leaves. Head Dream Academic Nick Laird-Clowes indicated the song was a tribute to fallen songwriter Nick Drake, and the song found worldwide success the same way many of us wish Drake had. It came from their first, eponymous album, which was the first of three albums they put out and the only one that survives on your favorite digital subscription service.

Also on The Dream Academy was this inventive blend of Phil Spector grandeur and Morrissey group-loathing. I genuinely admire this song, even with/because of its suffering aesthete trying to break out of an enforced social situation with just a Swiss army knife and a Ted Hughes collection ("When I'm forced into making polite conversation/I open up the window to get some ventilation/Try to break away from the intellectual starvation"). I have a feeling Laird-Clowes and Prefab Sprout's Paddy McAloon are kindred spirits. The Dream Academy uses castanets on "The Party," which means they win a state-of-the-art toaster oven. And as she does on "Northern Town," Kate St. John rocks the oboe on this one.

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