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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 waving!

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 e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Polyphonic Spree article/review: Together We're Heavy.

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