Royal Academy of Reality

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Not many bands work up the ambition to record a new album ten years after going on long-term hiatus and after 14 years away from the studio, but "ambition" is certainly one of the first words that comes to mind while attempting to describe The Royal Academy of Reality, the first recording project since 1989 for the Swimming Pool Q's. Anyone who remembers the intelligent, intricate, and idiosyncratic pop of the band's previous work is in for a very big surprise with this album; spreading 20 songs over 70 minutes and recorded with a lush, wide-screen grandeur that puts the group's major-label catalog to shame, much of The Royal Academy of Reality suggests a blend of ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Not many bands work up the ambition to record a new album ten years after going on long-term hiatus and after 14 years away from the studio, but "ambition" is certainly one of the first words that comes to mind while attempting to describe The Royal Academy of Reality, the first recording project since 1989 for the Swimming Pool Q's. Anyone who remembers the intelligent, intricate, and idiosyncratic pop of the band's previous work is in for a very big surprise with this album; spreading 20 songs over 70 minutes and recorded with a lush, wide-screen grandeur that puts the group's major-label catalog to shame, much of The Royal Academy of Reality suggests a blend of psychedelia, prog rock, and new age soundscapes as interpreted by a handful of college-educated eccentrics from the deep South. Jeff Calder and Bob Elsey, the group's frontmen, recorded this album in bits and pieces with a massive cast of supporting players over the space of nearly ten years, and they have to be congratulated for the strength of their vision; while these 20 pieces run from smart pop to semi-orchestral anthems to aural backdrops as delicate as spider's webs, there is a remarkable cohesion and thematic unity here as the reconstituted Q's musically ponder the fate of the Earth and our corner of the universe. Given its stylistic and thematic scope, it feels strange to report that if The Royal Academy of Reality has a flaw, it's that this album needs more material to tie together its many disparate elements; this set covers so much ground that it sometimes sounds as if a few of the stops along the way got lost in the re-telling. But the striking scale and superb craft of this album are impressive by any standard, and you have to congratulate the Swimming Pool Q's for pulling off such an accomplishment while left to their own devices; if it isn't quite a masterpiece, it's an accomplishment no one who hears it can casually dismiss.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/20/2003
  • Label: Bar/None Records
  • UPC: 032862014529
  • Catalog Number: 145
  • Sales rank: 163,057

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Swimming Pool Q's Primary Artist
Anne Richmond Boston Background Vocals
Gary Brown Bass Guitar
Jeff Calder Organ, Guitar, Percussion, Autoharp, Bass Drums, Gong, Bass Guitar, Steel Guitar, Keyboards, Recorder, Sitar, Vocals, Background Vocals, Xylophone, Choir, Chorus, Koto, Bells, Various, Fretless Bass Guitar, Electric Sitar, ARP, fender rhodes, Wurlitzer, Sho, Bell-tree, Juno, Arp Strings, Flexatones, Space Phone, Spatialization, Chang
Samarai Celestial Drums
Bob Elsey Bass, Guitar, Cymbals, Drums, Choir, Chorus, Ebo, E-bow, Talk Box, Fuzz Bass
Brian Engel Glass Harp
Tom Gray Dulcimer, Lap Steel Guitar
Brendan O'Brien Bass, Bass Guitar
Neal Starkey Double Bass, Upright Bass
Moe Tucker Drums, Tambourine
Denny Walley Slide Guitar
Billy Burton Percussion, Drums, Electronic Drums
Penny Ray Background Vocals
Caram Costanzo Drums
Phil Hadaway Organ, Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Strings, Accordion, Glockenspiel, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Sitar, Tambourine, 12-string Guitar, Moog Synthesizer, Bells, Timpani, Sampling, Mellotron, Electric Sitar, Shaker, sleigh bells, Electric Harpsichord, Mini Moog, CS-80, Arp Odyssey, Hammond Synth, Roland S555, Hammond B3
Esta Hill Background Vocals
Pete Jarkunas Percussion, Bongos, Conga, Triangle
Zollie Maynard Background Vocals
Marty Kearns Synthesizer, Piano, Harmonium, Keyboards, Electric Piano, Clavinet, Sampling, Mellotron, ARP, Korg, Loops, fender rhodes, oberheim, Wurlitzer, Electric Harpsichord, Clavioline, Toy Piano, Mini Moog, Moog Bass, Juno, Arp 2600, Hammond Synth, Yamaha Keyboards, Hammond B3
Marcus David Hammered Dulcimer
Thom Jenkins Shells
Eric Hubner Background Vocals
Gary Brown Bass
Tim Delaney Bass Guitar
Neel Murgai Sitar
Brad Lewis Harmonica, Jew's Harp
Skip Graham Moog Synthesizer
Mike Clark Cymbals
Denny Braun Tenor Saxophone
Henry Bruns Pedal Steel Guitar
Neill Calabro Vibes
Elizabeth Calder Spoken Word, Telephone Voice
Eric Winbush Bass
Thad Wilson Trumpet, Muted Trumpet
John H. Dickson Narrator, Spoken Word
DJ Gnosis Turntables
Tom Gray Lap Steel Guitar, Appalachian Dulcimer
Becky Grandey Background Vocals
Dave Strohauer Didjeridu
James Schneider Tamboura
Bing Li Violin
Mimi Li Violin
Marty Minskee Violin
Franz Russell Spoken Word, Voiceover
David Marcus Dulcimer
Pete Jarkunas Percussion, Bongos, Conga, Triangle, Kalimba, Shaker, cowbell
Bing Li Violin
Brien Engel Glass
Brad Lewis Harmonica, Jew's Harp
Henry Frons Bagpipes
Bill Burton Percussion, Bongos, Cymbals, Drums, Electronic Drums
Eric Winbush Bass Guitar
Zollie Maynard Background Vocals
Erich Hubner Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Jeff Calder Sound Effects, Producer, Engineer, Contributor
Nick DiDia Engineer
Bob Elsey Composer
Rodney Mills Producer
Greg Quesnel Engineer
Billy Burton Simmons
Phil Hadaway Programming, Sound Effects, Producer, Engineer, Vocal Arrangements, String Arrangements, Percussion Programming, Sequencers, Sound Manipulation, Stereo Enhancement
Donal Jones Producer, Engineer
Marty Kearns Oberheim Expander
Ash Arnett Artwork
Patrick Belden Engineer
Eric Winbush Percussion Programming
Doctor Hong Li translation
Bruce Bennett Engineer
Eric Winbush Percussion Programming
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great CD

    Top Honors go to Jeff, Anne, Bob, Bill and Tim - this is an incredible work of art. Would enjoy more of Anne's voice but the songs she is on are great.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Best Album I've Heard In Years!!!!

    This is an incredible piece of work! Lot's of textures and sounds. I really love it! Check it out...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews