Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Album Review: The Polyphonic Spree - Yes, It's True

The Polyphonic Spree
Yes, It's True
**** out of *****

Has it really been 6 years since The Polyphonic Spree went militant style with their last album, 2007's The Fragile Army? The cultish (in wardrobe and fan base) band is the work of lots of members (currently 20 and counting) but the brainchild of front man Tim DeLaughter and Yes, It's True finds Tim back in the pop groove with straight ahead sunshiny tracks that incorporate his massive bands talents and instruments but the sound never overwhelms these mainstream friendly tunes.    

The bands first single "You Don't Know Me" isn't as harsh as the title sounds harkening back to the Spree's early 00's efforts. The good times continue with the best song here "Carefully Try" which has deep horns, acoustic guitar riffs and probably about 1000 other sounds while still repping an FM vibe, complete with 70's radio sign-off at the end.

When the band is all in unison the many layers of sound do not overwhelm, they enhance. In fact when the Spree strips down to one or two players tinkering with a part things feel thin and the songs lose some of their power like on "You're Golden".

"What Would You Do?" is an emotional upbeat, pretty rager that asks personal questions from a parents point of view; DeLaughter has mentioned that Yes, It's True is based on periods of his daughters life and this is the clearest questioning example. The tempo changes and sonic journey of "Blurry Up The Lines" makes for an exhilarating and the "Let Them Be" has enough weirdo flourishes to sound like a Beatles Yellow Submarine outtake. Disk closer "Battlefield" seems to be a simple ballad but then adds a sonic experimentation at the end, sometimes the group goes a bit overboard, but it doesn't distract from the overall feel of things.

When things are finished the Spree have complied an album of excellent tracks that make for a lush listening experience. Like The Flaming Lips at their best, The Polyphonic Spree can make everything feel like you are flying without a plane or fear, soaring through the blissful sky like a bird. Yes, It's True is a well crafted pop ray of sunshine. 

To be honest I had no idea The Polyphonic Spree was even still making music, it had been so long since I heard anything about them. I really dug their first album and had a few live bootleg's from the early '00 that I listened to often then, to me they have always had an emotional, sonic and spiritual tie to the Flaming Lips. With the Lips making one of the most disappointing disks of the year it is refreshing that this new album from the Spree is really well crafted, honest and a good listen. Also some really cool album art with this one.

Grab the disk here, catch the band live here and peep some samples below:
"You Don't Know Me"

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