It’s true, The Polyphonic Spree are back
It’s a nice feeling when a band you thought were dead suddenly surface with a new record. This exact feeling has just happened to me, on opening a package containing the new Polyphonic Spree LP. This is their first album in five years, released through Good Records (via Cherry Red) and it was certainly worth the wait.
You Don’t Know Me – the current single – kicks off the album boldly, with nods to Peter Bjorn & John and Edward Sharpe flowing through, setting up what is to come during the rest of this musical journey. Popular By Design is a catchy little number – the chorus sounding like the Pipettes on a comedown, juxtaposed with a mellow and haunting verse, a mixture of Washed Out, Chairlift and even Groove Armada… with a subtle latter-career Manics drumbeat. This strange mush works though, the result being a quirky and enjoyable pop gem which wouldn’t be out of place towards the end of an indie disco.
As the album progresses, it’s obvious that there is a particular “sound” to each of the tracks, although it’s hard to say it’s a classic ‘Polyphonic sound’ – as there is so much going on. This record seems slightly different from the others though, more advanced somehow, almost as if the last five years have helped them hone their craft. Xylophones, tambourines, kettle drums, horns and bells all make an appearance – haunting and dainty in equal measures. There is a Flaming Lips moment on Carefully Try which had me wondering why the band didn’t invite Wayne Coyne to guest on it, and other influences raise their heads from time to time. Essentially though, this is ‘The Spree’ like we know and love them, but a little more mature, with a bit more balls (maybe they’ve added even more male members to the clan) and a great listen from start to finish.
We’ll be seeing a lot more of them as the year unfolds, with appearances at Camp Bestival and Bestival and UK dates to follow. It seems after five years they are putting the work in.
Review by Joe Haddow