ALBUM REVIEW: The Swimming Pool Q’s, “The A&M Years”

Written by CD Reviews, Music, Popdose

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I loved these two albums when they first came out in 1984 and 1986, respectively, through the good folks at A&M Records.  This Atlanta band had that wonderful mix of melody and mayhem (think an artistic pallete of Beefheart mixed with New Wave quirkiness).  It’s been a long time, as The Swimming Pool Q’a A&M albums have never been released on CD – except for a brief, difficult-to-find German pressing of Blue Tomorrow – so it’s a joy to rediscover these gems, which have seen better days in my collection on vinyl.

The high points are many – starting with “The Bells Ring”, off the self-titled album, it chimes in all the best ways an album opener can; it whets the appetite nicely.  Anne Richmond Boston’s vocals are emotional and breathy, taking you on a speeding ride.   “Celestion”, “Sacrificial Altar” and “Just Property” are strong, melodic, solid and tie this album together perfectly.  From Blue Tomorrow, the achingly beautiful “Now I’m Talking About Now”, a magnificent opener, opens an even stronger musical road.  Why this song wasn’t on every radio in ’86 is still a mystery to me.  “Pretty On The Inside” and “Wreck Around” are two more heart-stoppers as is the country-fied “Laredo Radio” – Jeff Calder’s vocals are wonderfully wry and yet, sublime.  Blue Tomorrow also includes a more polished version of “Big Fat Tractor”, which initially appeared on their debut album, The Deep End.

A Kickstarter campaign helped make this 2-CD set a reality and it’s nice to see that Universal got this right; more importantly, I hope that it opens up a new audience to the beauty of The Swimming Pool Q’s.