US - Texas - Full Moon 84 - 08/12/03
The Polyphonic Spree
The Beginning Stages Of...
See The Beginning Stages Of...
679 Recordings / Good Records [New edition: CD + DVD]
Not quite new this one since it was released last September, but this edition is brand new: the
album The Beginning Stages Of... plus a bonus DVD disc, aptly entitled See the Beginning
Stages of.... And therefore I had to put it here since The Polyphonic Spree was the event
at this year's Roskilde Festival, Denmark. They're a sight for sad eyes and pure medicine for a
darkened mind/heart with a live show and songs glowing with warmth and joy. A 23-24 strong (!) unit.
Harp, cello, piano, keyboard, theremin, moog, french horn, flute, trumpet, trombone, guitars, bass,
pipes, bells, tablas, timpani, gong, drums, and percussion. And a choir group. Plus a lot of hand
The Polyphonic Spree is the brainchild of Tim DeLaughter (vocalist, song writer, band leader),
who formerly was the head-man of Tripping Daisy (who folded when - in 1999 - their guitarist Wes
Berggren died). From out of the ashes came the Spree. DeLaughter brought along former Daisy colleague
Mark Pirro (bass, voice), and long time friend Chris Penn (voice) to develope his ideas/dreams of
what was to become the amazing Polyphonic Spree. Both in sound as well as vision. From the forming
three years ago they're now a most complete show, a giant group of angels on stage, since one of
Tim D's first ideas of a concept was all of them being dressed in white robes. A sight indeed! Things
happened quickly: after 2 weeks (!) they opened for Grandaddy, and a few months later this album
was recorded - in 3 days! That's amazing, since it must've taken at least a day to get everyone
inside the studio, ready to perform. However, the result was The Beginning Stages of... -
ten songs (or sections) of merry, powerful/floweful, richly orchestrated pop. Later to be released
by 679 Records (a label also holdig The Streets, Ben Kweller, and others).
This new editon also includes 4 alternate versions of their most catchy anthems - Soldier
Girl, Hanging Around, It's The Sun, and the fantastic Light and Day -
even though I prefer the originals. Their musis radiate a warm glow and leaves a happy feel, like
a slight intoxication by some sparkling wine on a hot summer's day. Sounding like if Brian Wilson
conducted a mix of The (psychedelic) Beatles, Genesis (pre the ugly man singing), and (a softer)
Pixies, backed up by some symphonic orchestra. Full frontal sympho-pop with lethal choruses. Flaming
Lips is another name dropped as a reminiscence. And, yes, there are related parts. And, after reading
about the live shows of Tripping Daisy it seems like Flaming Lips have picked some ideas for their
own merry stage shows.
I was really eager to check out the DVD, which includes (only) three songs live from the Sheperds
Bush Empire, London, plus the "famous" episode from their first show outside Texas and the US (also
in the UK) known as 'When The Sound Went Down'. There's also some short video clips and a still
gallery, which are OK but nothing more. But the DVD is worth the price alone, just to see the 4
songs performed live (with guest star: Mr. Jarvis Cocker of Pulp). See it and smile.
Check out The Polyphonic Spree. To re-write one of their song titles - Section 3 (Days
Like This Keep Me Warm): Bands like this keep me warm. Sheer happiness and joy!
Copyright © 2003 Håvard Oppøyen