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Record Review

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Since forming in 1978, Atlanta's Swimming Pool Q's have drastically redefined their sound with each new album. Guitarist and vocalist Jeff Calder -- the de facto generalissimo of the intellectual Southern New Wave scene -- spent an entire decade recording and honing the 20 songs that appear on his band's newest release. The result is a rich collection of wise musings about the concept of time, backed with wildly diverse psychedelic instrumentation.

Taking the deliberate and ornate feel of the Q's '86 album Blue Tomorrow on a lengthy acid trip, the band embark on a sprawling 70-minute voyage into deep space. "The Do What and the Who What" and "Pharaoh's Rocket" are classic rambunctious Q's; punchy, Beefheart-fueled and wordy. "Alpha Centauri's Rise" is an airy, spiraling chant to the heavens, delightfully bookended by the XTC-inspired pop twinkle of "Everybody Knows Tomorrow."

In addition to old-school Q's Anne Richmond Boston, Bob Elsey and Bill Burton, mad professor Calder's conservatory features more than two dozen guests, including producer/ guitarist Brendan O'Brien, Tom Gray (The Brains), Samarai Celestial (Sun Ra), and Moe Tucker (Velvet Underground). Many non-traditional rock instruments, including glass harp, dulcimer, bagpipes, harpsichord, sitar and even some turntable scratching add to the disc's well-stocked library of sounds. Calder's concise lyrics tether the material from floating out of control or heading into uncharted New Age territory.

If you want familiar, "Rat Bait"-rockin' Q's, seek out the reissue of their debut The Deep End. For a heady dose of mind-altering Reality, enroll in the Royal Academy.


The Swimming Pool Q's CD release show is Sat., June 7, at the Echo Lounge. $8.

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