Polyphonic Spree


(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

The Beginning Stages (2001) , 6.5/10
Together We're Heavy (2004), 5/10
The Fragile Army (2007), 5.5/10
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Polyphonic Spree is a large group from Dallas (Texas) that includes a small orchestra (keyboards, percussions, bass, guitar, flute, trumpet, trombone, etc) and a gospel-like choir, for a grand total of between 20 and 25 musicians. It was formed by Tim DeLaughter after Tripping Daisy fell apart. The Beginning Stages (Good, 2001 - Hollywood, 2003), that contains ten "songs" or, better, "sections", is pure grandiose sugary pop, bordering on children's music, defying even the most shameless melodies of Peter Cetera-period Chicago, Electric Light Orchestra and Dark Side-era Pink Floyd. The arrangements are layered and slightly exaggerated, like in a parody of the Flaming Lips, a technique that Brian Wilson and VanDyke Parks would die for. And then massive tidal waves of vocals come to sweep the music away. Section 8 (Soldier Girl in the reissue) is the melodic standout, while Section 10 (renamed A Long Day in the reissue) is 36 minutes of DeLaughter testing his vocals. In a sense, this was the natural follow-up to Tripping Daisy's Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb.

Together We're Heavy (Hollywood, 2004), which contains ten more "sections", is a more traditional collection of pop songs, that tries to bridge the Electric Light Orchestra and the Flaming Lips in an even less original way (except perhaps Hold Me Now).

The Polyphonic Spree performed Tim Delaughter's movie soundtrack Thumbsucker (Sony, 2005).

There is little to command The Fragile Army (TVT, 2007) other than the bombastic production, dreadfully reminiscent of theatrical glam-rock of the 1970s, somewhere between David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Queen's A Night At The Opera. Just like those illustrious predecessors, this is a collection of inferior material played by (24!) inferior musicians and given a major instrumental make-up in order to hide its fundamentally trivial nature. That a few numbers (Get Up and Go, Running Away, Mental Cabaret) are indeed engaging proves Delaughter (just like Bowie before him) is indeed a genius: a genius of marketing.

The Polyphonic Spree's member Anni Clark launched her project St Vincent with Marry Me (Beggers Banquet, 2007). < td>

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(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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