The two dozen members often take to the stage costumed in flowing robes or military style uniforms, an appropriate backdrop for their happy and uplifting musical message that’s a mix of catchy pop minimally laced with gospel. Fans have compared them to both the Flaming Lips and the Beach Boys, with a smidgen of lively Godspeed-like attitude thrown into the mix.
The Polyphonic Spree was founded by Tim DeLaughter, who led Dallas, Texas based alternative rock band Tripping Daisy (best known for their 1996 minor hit “I Got A Girl”) until 1999, when Wes Berggren(founding member and guitarist) died of a drug overdose. Tripping Daisy posthumously released a self-titled record on Sugar Fix records and called it quits.
DeLaughter and other surviving members of Tripping Daisy regrouped as the Polyphonic Spree in 2000, adding about 20 more members. They put together a demo titled The Beginning Stages of…The Polyphonic Spree and distributed it to fans during performances. The album was subsequently released on DeLaughter’s own imprint, Good Records and picked up by 679 Recordings.
The fluctuating group boasts a choir, a pair of keyboard players, as well as a percussionist, bassist, guitarist, flautist, trumpeter, trombonist, violinist, a French horn player, a theremin player, and an electronic effects wizard. DeLaughter holds the post of musical director and contributes lead vocals.
Tours require more than a dozen full-sized vans, but the band’s spectacular shows in intimate clubs and gigs as big as 2003’s Reading Festival generate the feeling of a gospel revival meeting. Single ”Light and Day” was featured in Volkswagen commercials, an episode of Scrubs and on the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack, earning the Polyphonic Spree even more exposure. Their proper first album Together We’re Heavy was released jointly by Good Records and Hollywood Records in summer 2004. New music was released in the form of the soundtrack for the film ‘Thumbsucker’ in 2005.
In the autumn of 2006, The Polyphonic Spree released the Wait EP, which features covers of Nirvana’s ”Lithium” and ”Sonic Bloom” by DeLaughter’s former band, Tripping Daisy. For the band’s last album, The Fragile Army, (released June 2007) the entire band swapped their trademark robes for dark coloured military-style uniforms.
The return of The Polyphonic Spree was announced with the release of the ‘Bullseye’ App, an interactive music video which is a collaboration between The Polyphonic Spree and Moonbot Studios.
Edited by shimmetry on 7 Sep 2011, 12:38
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