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Thursday, January 12, 2017

(the) Swimming Pool Q's - Blue Tomorrow

Name: The Swimming Pool Q's
Album: Blue Tomorrow
Year: 1986
Style: Jangle Pop, Folk
Similar Bands: Let's Active, Bongos, dB's, Shakespears Sister. Frank Black
One Word Review: Celestial Twang
Based Out Of: Atlanta GA
Label: A&M
 Blue Tomorrow - Cover, Sleeve & Record
Blue Tomorrow - Back, Lyrics, Record
Blue Tomorrow (1986)
  1. Now I'm Talking About Now 3:59
  2. She's Lookin' Real Good 4:21
  3. Pretty on the Inside 2:56
  4. Laredo Radio 3:52
  5. Wreck Around 4:30/
  6. More Than One Heaven 3:39
  7. Corruption 4:33
  8. Blue Tomorrow 3:58
  9. A Dream In Gray 3:40
  10. Big Fat Tractor 3:32
Album Rating (1-10): 5.5

Members & Other Bands:
Billy Burton - Drums (Coolies)
Bob Elsey - Guitar (Kevin Kinney)
Jeff Calder - Vox, Guitar, Sax, Theremin, Electric Dulcimer (Supreme Court, Glenn Phillips, Hot Place, Amazing Journey, Girls, Guns and Glory)
J.E. Garnetts - Bass (Atlanta Rhythm Section)
Anne Richmond Boston - Vox Keys, Art Direction (Marti Jones, Face to Face, Widespread Panic, Supreme Court, Drive By Truckers)
Greg Q Quesnel - Engineer
Scott Harmon - Asst. Engineer
Donal Jones - Asst. Engineer
Ron Christopher - Mix Engineer
Dennis Blackham - Mastering
Howie Weinstein - Mastering
Charlie Brusco - Direction
Jeff Gold - Art Direction
Richard Frankel - Art Direction
Douglas Brian Martin - Design
Britian Hill - Photographer
Karin - Stylist
Marty Kearns - Synth Programming. Keyboard Arrangements
Mike Howlett - Sequencer Program

Unknown-ness: I feel like I may have heard of this band, but as to their musical style, I do not know for sure. I can guess, with the sillyish name, year of '86, font and fashion choices, that this may not be too enjoyable. It looks like it may be overly complex, and very dated to the mid 80's pastel and jangley yet meandering production. The ponies per person does not really help, but gives it a folksy feel.

Album Review: The Swimming Pool Q’s, name taken from the phrase “swinging pool cues” in a novel, were a new wave band in the Atlanta area in the early 80’s. Often lumped into the Athens scene of the B-52’s, REM and Pylon, they were still a very different band. As the token new wave band, they often opened for bands that came through town like Devo, Klaus Nomi, The Police and Lou Reed. They released 4 albums in the early part of their career, and then reformed and released a fifth album in 2003. They even used Kickstarter to remaster and reissue their earlier albums.

“Now I'm Talking About Now” starts the album on a celestial cloud of sorts. A soaring, trumpeting synth hook repeats, as if beckoning a new king. The song continues down the renaissance path, with some Indigo Girls vocals, and come echoing percussion (think- Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More”). The instrumental section offers a spotlight to the electric guitar, which continues to soar and dip in the background under the vocals. The angelic harmonies toward the end of the song only enhance the lofty vibe the song emits.
“She's Lookin' Real Good” pulses with a bass beat as it begins, and jangly guitars play with percussion clicks. The song is led with male vocals, and has a bit of a bluesy, country twang to the delivery, particularly with the echoing vocals. Some of the vocals lines end with Frank Black’s style of execution.
“Pretty on the Inside” transitions back to a lofty, celestial scene, placed on the back of the lead vocals, and toe taping, non-threatening music. The guitar solo soars, but does not detract from the flowing, meandering melody.
“Laredo Radio” is a definition of Alt-Country, with its rural guitar, and slightly gruff male vocals. The song feels like generic background music. The surf guitar instrumental does breathe a little life into the song, but it is far too brief, and the song transgresses to its tedious melody far too quickly. The chorus tries to build up, but it does not have any teeth to make it memorable.
“Wreck Around” begins like it is entering a dream state, with methodic bass notes over a jangly guitar loop. The flip flopping shared vocal duties takes us back to the haunting female vocals. The song has a Fleetwood Mac feel to it (as far as my uneducated impression of them goes).

“More Than One Heaven” is a nice break in the meandering melodies, and presents one true fun, bouncy, pop song. The hooks are short, and full of energy, as does the echoing drums and steady, driving tempo. The vocal melody is a rollicking, fun to follow course, and is harmonized, to give it a nice thickness. The layout of the song is predictable, and enjoyable, even if the song has a little of a goddy vibe (the “take me on up” bridge). The male vocals give a spoken word sermon over the transitional breakdown to the final verse of the song.
“Corruption” has an angry, country version of Frank Black feel again, and this feels more like landscape rock, like The Alarm or Big Country. The song is slinky and dirty, but is kind of empty of substance. There is an electric guitar solo in the middle that does feel a little like hair metal.
“Blue Tomorrow” is the title track to the album, and begins with a jangly non-hook. The synth keyboard adds the necessary hook, which is quite catchy, and gives off a Belle & Sebastian vibe. But the male vocals are in this song: a break from the male/female switches. The song is catchy in an Americana Pop vibe, and is basic, yet pleasant. You think the melody of the chorus will be the first instance of Blue Tomorrow, but then the melody shifts to give you a different interpretation of the melody and it works quite well in its building of energy.
“A Dream In Gray” has a little swagger. We’re back on track with the switch to a female fronted song. It sways side to side, thanks to the slightly disjointed guitar hook and complimentary drum beat. The song does not give much chance for itself to change, adapt or build, so it remains a little one-dimensional. Falling back on the staggered guitar building blocks, at least the vocals do change up from deep reverberating to free flowing angelic hums.
“Big Fat Tractor” has a country, less-campy version of Fred Schneider’s vocals, and the female vocals do well to parallel his vocals, in a similar style to Kate Pierson also of the B-52’s. The song is down and dirty country honky tonk song, with a few odd breaks and emotional vocal offerings, which are often pinched out. It is an interesting, and parts of it grind out with metal guitars. It is a nice chaotic, near-experimental end to an album that held back for almost its entirety. 

Stand Out Track: More Than Just One Heaven

Perfect Sound Forever

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