fri 23/08/2019

CD: The Polyphonic Spree - Yes, It's True | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Polyphonic Spree - Yes, It's True

CD: The Polyphonic Spree - Yes, It's True

Texan collective's good vibes remain intact as well as under the radar

Wigging out with the Spree

This is a buoyant, likeable album but – to be dismal and pessimistic – maybe the moment has passed for The Polyphonic Spree. This would be a shame as they’re more interesting than 90 per cent of the wannabe guitar pop stars out there. However, a dozen years and four albums (five, if you include the Christmas one) into their career they appear no closer to catching on. Yes, It’s True is not a great deal different in quality or style from any of their previous albums. The band are experts in light psych-pop that beams out a benign smile and melodic warmth. This is no slight on their music, just that their wider profile may reflect public demand for light psych-pop that beams out a benign smile and melodic warmth.

The Texas band first made a name for themselves by coming on like a religious cult, appearing in concerts en masse all dressed in robes, but their leader, Tim DeLaughter, has more going for him than gimmicks. His lyrics are often pastiche-level hippy-drippy (“She’s got rollercoaster eyes” from “Hold Yourself Up”) but also retain interest by wandering away from cliché. The love song “You’re Golden” is notable, for instance, in listing character aspects which are not the central focus of affection (“It’s not your Facebook likes”). It emanates genuine, if over-sweetened, romance.

The Polyphonic Spree write sharp indie songs, dip them in Sixties whimsy and add contagious levels of sunshine brass and other orchestration. Their music sometimes recalls classic Bowie, early Primal Scream and XTC (or, at least, their side project, Dukes of Stratosphere), retaining a sweeping take on rock that’s their own yet blurred into the wider history of psychedelic pop. If this album had been released years ago and rediscovered last week by a writer or personality du jour, it might be hailed as a minor classic, but as the new one by an outfit entering early middle age, our gabbling, attention-deficit media are unlikely to pay due care and attention. It certainly deserves better than that.

Listen to "You Dont Know Me" overleaf

They write sharp indie songs, dip them in Sixties whimsy and add contagious levels of sunshine brass and orchestration

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters