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The Beginning Stages Of... (Disk 1)

The Polyphonic Spree

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Album Review

Talk about your teenage symphonies to God. The Polyphonic Spree create the most euphoric, uplifting pop music imaginable. A self-described symphonic pop band crediting an astounding 29 members, their guilelessly spiritual lyrics and flowing white robes suggest they're a cult act in both the literal and figurative sense of the term, but the sheer joy of their music is undeniably persuasive, evoking the otherworldly brilliance of everything from Pet Sounds to The Soft Bulletin. Leader Tim DeLaughter, late of the oft-annoying Tripping Daisy, has harnessed something truly pure and enriching this time around — imagine Up With People entering the studio with Dave Fridmann in the producer's chair, and you're getting close. This is life-affirming music of the highest caliber. [The album's U.K. edition was issued via 679.]

Customer Reviews

A Cacophony of Joy

While the robed performers and upbeat choral, spiritual sounding music may tempt you to dismiss this group as a clownish cult experiment, one should not allow judgment before giving this album a full listen. Founded by Tripping Daisy's Tim DeLaughter in response to the negativity he felt after band mate Wes Berggren died of a drug overdose, The Polyphonic Spree is an attempt to add something purely positive to the modern music scene. What is accomplished is an album with all of the uplifting power of a gospel collection without the accompanying religious proselytizing. The music is thick, aided by the bands ever swelling numbers. The harmonies and musical arrangements are reminiscent of a sing-along with all the inherent quirks and missteps. Even the staunchest pessimist would be hard pressed to maintain a disagreeable mood while listening to Light and Day/Reach for the Sun, popularized in commercials and in the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I challenge listeners to give this track a chance. In the current musical atmosphere of mopey guitars and mascara-ed Burtonesque lead singers, The Polyphonic Spree is truly an “alternative” alternative.


Formed: 2000 in Dallas, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

When the Polyphonic Spree first appeared in 2000, the Dallas symphonic pop group was as much a band as a "happening," in the 1960s sense of the word. The Spree's two dozen members took the stage in flowing robes of snowy white, an appropriate backdrop for their happy and uplifting blend of pop, orchestral rock, and minimal touches of gospel. The costumes changed over the years, but the Polyphonic Spree's message remained...
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