Another attempt to save the world from grey tedium...
When [a]Polyphonic Spree[/a] appeared in 2002 they seemed to have been beamed down directly from the sort of planet many people would pay good money to be deported to. A strong whiff of sunshine psychedelia followed their every movement, but instead of four blokes with greasy hair, sour grimaces and spots grinding it out for a tiny coterie of bedwetters, this was 20 plus, sexually attractive, young(ish) people with luscious LSD smiles, timbales and French horns high on an old-time religion vibe and overflowing with relentless positivity. But, for all its thrills,
‘The Beginning Stages Of…’ was just a demo, a sketch of what this band are truly capable of.
Most of the current members didn’t play a note on it. ‘Together We’re Heavy’, meanwhile, is the real fucking deal, an enormous, symphonic, sprawling, highly ambitious, far-reaching work of wonder that positions the Spree as the far-out dream band of our generation.
So, thanks to Disney’s deep pockets (they own Hollywood Records), Tim DeLaughter gets to sit at the piano in a massive studio with a real orchestra and let his brain boil over and we get beautiful, delicate pieces like ‘Two Thousand Places’ or ‘One Man Show’ where his wavering voice picks at the seams of his own manic life alongside more intense fare like ‘When The Fool Becomes A King’ or ‘Suitcase Calling’, where the band build and swell like no other band on earth. ‘Ensure Your Reservation’ is studded with frog croaks and plangent Theremin sighs, while ‘Diamonds/Mild Devotion To Majesty’ is so deliriously uplifting it may even take over from the remarkable ‘It’s The Sun’ as the moment where the Spree suddenly gain a few thousand new members every night. There’s nothing – nothing – not to love here.
If you wanted to be overly dramatic, you could say that, generally speaking, bands haven’t been allowed to make records this expensive (sounding), expansive and inclusive since about 1971 and, if more were, or if more even wanted to, then maybe the record industry wouldn’t be quite as fucked as it is. But don’t bother. More to the point, where the hell are they gonna go from here?
Get ‘Together We’re Heavy’ at the NME Shop