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Recurring Dream : * * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty :

November 15, 1987|STEVE HOCHMAN

* * THE DREAM ACADEMY. "Remembrance Days." Reprise. There was something refreshing about this English trio's 1985 debut: The gentle nostalgia of singer/songwriter Nick Laird-Clowes, the wistful breeze of Kate St. John's oboe and cor anglais and keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel's neo-chamber arrangements combined to make songs like "Life in a Northern Town" welcome breaks from the Anglo dance 'n' doom norm. Whatever that something was is in short supply on this follow-up. "Indian Summer" reasonably re-creates the mood of "Northern Town," but is too much a carbon copy. The only song that truly recaptures the feeling is "Here," the sole track on which St. John's lovely playing is at the fore. And while Laird-Clowes' romantic melodies do grow on you, co-producer Hugh Padgham has given them bland settings that at times sound more appropriate for one of his star clients, Phil Collins. Even a couple of production and playing contributions from Lindsey Buckingham do little to break the sonic monotony.

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