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The Dream Academy are an English folk rock, dream pop and sophisti-pop band, comprising singer/guitarist Nick Laird-Clowes, multi-instrumentalist (chiefly oboe, Cor Anglais player) Kate St John, and keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel. They are most noted for their hit single, "Life in a Northern Town".
Laird-Clowes and Gabriel met each other in the late 1970s whilst the former was in a band called The Act. Their idea was to create a songscape different from the power pop groups popular at the time in the UK, by mixing instruments and sounds that had been rarely done prominently before, such as strings, woodwinds, percussion (timpani), and synthesizers. At first, Laird-Clowes and Gabriel called themselves the Politics of Paradise.
Laird-Clowes met Kate St John (then of The Ravishing Beauties) at a party, and asked her to join. The trio settled on the name The Dream Academy and shopped their demos for nearly two years. Their