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The Fragile Army

The Polyphonic SpreeAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Amazon's The Polyphonic Spree Store


Image of album by The Polyphonic Spree


Image of The Polyphonic Spree


The Polyphonic Spree "Holidaydream" Trailer


The Polyphonic Spree began July 15, 2000. Since then they have traversed the globe several times over (including appearances at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, Oscar de la Renta Fashion Week Runway Show, MTV Video Music Awards, Glastonbury, Summersonic, and various late night TV shows) while receiving accolades, adoration, and even a few imitators. What many outside of Dallas are unaware of is ... Read more in Amazon's The Polyphonic Spree Store

Visit Amazon's The Polyphonic Spree Store
for 24 albums, photos, videos, and 3 full streaming songs.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 19, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: TVT Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,720 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Section 21 [Together We're Heavy]
2. Section 22 [Running Away]
3. Section 23 [Get Up And Go]
4. Section 24 [The Fragile Army]
5. Section 25 [Younger Yesterday]
6. Section 26 [We Crawl]
7. Section 27 [Mental Cabaret]
8. Section 28 [Guaranteed Nightlite]
9. Section 29 [Light To Follow]
10. Section 30 [Watch Us Explode (Justify)]
11. Section 31 [Overblow Your Nest]
12. Section 32 [The Championship]

Editorial Reviews

No one ever thought a '60s throwback with choral vocals and exuberant horn sections wearing white robes cast off from Godspell would become a hit, but that was the case for the Polyphonic Spree and their 2004 album, Together We're Heavy. Singer Tim DeLaughter and his co-composer and fellow singer Julie Doyle have taken their baroque sound and moved it beyond a gimmick on The Fragile Army. They've also been listening to a lot of English rock in the interim. Echoes of David Bowie abound, from DeLaughter's slightly whiney vocals to the dense production. "Get Up and Go" could've been right out of Ziggy Stardust, and the title track sounds like a cross between Bowie and Pink Floyd's The Wall. It's no mistake that Bowie pianist Mike Garson shows up on the disc. There are all kinds of psychedelic touches, with odd time signatures, multi-part song structures, and symphonic flourishes. Even the mix sounds very '60s, with echo-chamber voices, intentionally over-compressed drums, and strings sometimes panned hard left--something that often happened on early psychedelic records because they ran out of recording tracks. Songs like "Mental Cabaret" are hallucinogenic sprawls of classical strings, music-hall horns, and crushing, time-slipping grooves. You either love the Spree for their trippy, power-driven "Up With People" anthems or despite those attributes. Yet there's little denying their infectious attraction. If you took away the cultish robes and feel-good vibes, I suspect this would be heralded like the latest Arcade Fire or Radiohead disc. And you know what? The Polyphonic Spree have reportedly dropped the white robes for black military garb --and there's a touch of darkness to the album, with lyrics declaring "It's time for you to lose your excitement" and "One day soon the world comes down and says goodbye." But regardless of some ominous offerings, you ultimately just have to succumb to the joy. --John Diliberto

Product Description

The Polyphonic Spree's new album The Fragile Army is a passionate explosion that finds the legendary 23 piece symphonic rock group joyfully raging against the dying of the light with newfound zeal. See them on tour all summer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spree Unleashed At Last! June 22, 2007
Format:Audio CD
If there was ever any question as to whether the Polyphonic Spree could rock your freakin socks off, it has been laid to rest with their release of The Fragile Army. This album is, in short, nothing less than a masterpiece, perhaps destined to become the Spree's all-time classic. Almost every song is excellent. The Spree, under the direction of their visionary leader, Tim DeLaughter, have taken their ultra-uplifting, relentlessly optimistic approach to music and injected it with a dose of high octane rock & roll. The result is an album with everything we always loved about the Spree (tremendous choral arrangements, regal brass flourishes, and smiley-faced lyrics), plus a bunch of new things to love (cool guitar leads, compact song structures, and a slightly harder edge). Although I loved Together We're Heavy (and still do), this is a more focused, catchy, and immediate collection of songs.

The album begins with a cool intro taken from the end of Together We're Heavy, and quickly blasts into high gear with Section 22 (Running Away). This song is clearly meant to attract the attention of new fans, with its driving beat and catchy melody. The excitement level (and volume) stays set at 11 for Section 23 (Get Up and Go), which gives us the first dose of the Spree's compelling new sound. The stomping rock beat and strident guitar leads are sure to grab your attention, while DeLaughter's sports announcer vocals ring out over the din. This is followed by the epic title track, which features a great, building middle section. The best song on the album, and one of the Spree's best ever, is Section 29 (Light to Follow). Beginning with a startling techno drum beat and ambient synthesizers, it contains some truly impressive moments that set it apart even amidst the many other great songs. Other highlights include the gentler We Crawl, the broadway-esque Guaranteed Nightlight, and The Championship.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never bothered to listen to these guys- mistake! June 20, 2007
Format:Audio CD
I never jumped (or perhaps floated)on this particular band wagon. From friend's descriptions it sounded way too hippiesque for my tastes. On a lark I purchased this album and have not been dissapointed. This disc reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd during their Wall era with a dash of Arcade Fire, although it is almost relentlessly upbeat.

20+ members, harmonies, strings, weird 60ish arrangements. Pretty satisfying all in all. I don't know that I will become a convert but I dig this disc. If you enjoy some of the newer bands to come out as of late like the Arcade Fire and grew up listening to oldies this could be for you. Especially if you like a little more layering to your music, providing an opportunity to discover a little more on each listen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming into their own as artists November 1, 2007
Format:Audio CD
It used to be that an artist--be it a painter, writer, or musician--was developed. That was one of the functions of a producer, agent, or editor: to discover new talent and help it become great. Take, for example, the career of Kate Bush. Discovered in her teens by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and signed to EMI records, they elected to hold off releasing a debut album by her until she finished school and took some additional training in both performance and dance. Yes, she had a hit with "Wuthering Heights" off the first album, but the second and third were somewhat missteps and it wasn't until the breakthrough of Hounds of Love did she come into her own. Today, every new album or book needs to be a blockbuster, a milllion-seller, and if it isn't, then let's find the next big thing. Artists just aren't given the time to develop and find their sound or style.

But there's an exception to everything, and in this case it's The Polyphonic Spree. The Fragile Army is their third full release and it is the culmination of the promise that was implied in their first album but buried behind the muddy demo nature of the recording. The second album showed what a cleaner production could do for them, but the songs were still wandering between moments of greatness and parts better snipped in the editing. Both of those albums are echoed in the first track here, "Section 21 [Together We're Heavy]," by both the title (referencing the name of the second album) and the sound (a repeat of a musical theme on that album paired with a sonic production that sounds as if the instruments were recorded underwater). And then the second track starts and its a startling change: the instrumentation is the same, but it's as if they had surfaced for air and all the full sound can be heard.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Spree take a Side-Step June 29, 2007
By Jason
Format:Audio CD
Make no mistake. This is a solid record. It's also an improvement on past work in some ways. Unfortunately, it seems that Tim and company have taken two steps forward and two steps back.

This release shows a return of sorts for Tim Delaughter to a songwriting style reminiscent of his work with Tripping Daisy. Gone almost completely are the lyrics consisting of four to eight lines which get repeated over and over again (thankfully). Instead, we get lyrical ideas which are almost entirely fleshed out. The end result is a collection of songs which are well-constructed, concise, and almost unrelentingly cheerful.

Sadly, it's this merit which is also the album's downfall. The formulaic songwriting works until about half-way through the album, and while the songs of the second half are just as strong as those of the first, it's hard to notice because there's really nothing new to surprise you by the time you get that far. And while it's nice to have more concise songs, we lose those magically epic moments found in tracks such as "Suitcase Calling" and "When the Fool Becomes a King" from their 2004 release "Together We're Heavy."

Another issue facing this record is the orchestration. While past Spree albums have placed more of an emphasis on the orchestral instruments, this album sounds like an indie-rock/pop band merely augmenting its sound with expanded instrumentation. The "extra" players are given the role of extras and don't come out of those roles very often. Even the quaint little choir is downplayed on this album. The standard rock instruments give the arrangements very little room to breathe for most of the album and little room for the tiny orchestra to shine.

However, this album shouldn't be discarded completely.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Singing along!
A wonderful harmonic ride.
Published 20 days ago by Angela S. Cardas-Meredith
5.0 out of 5 stars love it!
I wish i could put this in the hands of everyone i know. This album will get you out of your doldrums in no time at all.
Published 6 months ago by thomas halonen
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfied review
hey dudes, I totally suggest you buy this album! their songs (as are most of their songs) are very upbeat and yet simultaneously deep and just primarily feel-good shtuff.. Read more
Published on July 19, 2010 by Shan
3.0 out of 5 stars Different, but average
Caught this group on DirectTV and was blown away by the live performance of this 24-member band. Unfortunately, the group is much better live than on this disc. Read more
Published on March 27, 2010 by Martin H. Franzen
5.0 out of 5 stars Pop Perfection
I rarely feel the need to put my own thoughts in this space, but this album deserves it. The Fragile Army is indie pop at its best. Read more
Published on December 17, 2008 by Christopher C. Burke
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite Overrated
I'm a little puzzled by the enthusiasm for this band. I listen to this album and I hear a lot of overheated singing and mediocre lyrics with few compelling melodies or interesting... Read more
Published on December 16, 2008 by voomer
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, calm, and inviting.
Take it from me this band is simply stylistic and increadably their own. Pick up all three of their beautiful albums. To all you darn haters again... Read more
Published on February 20, 2008 by Marcus
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet!
This is raw talent at it's finest. It's clearly the best yet. You will not be disappointed. I bought the CD about a month ago and saw them live last weekend in Minneapolis. Read more
Published on October 22, 2007 by J Mez
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fragil Army, Indeed!
Deserves a 4.5 but will not rate them any lower! Truly Original in all senses, refreshing to the ears and very nice voices. Read more
Published on October 21, 2007 by Eddie Wannabee
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Surprise
I am a HUGE fan of Together We Are Heavy so I was very hesitant about listening to the new stuff. How many times do bands hit brillance and then put out total crap? Read more
Published on October 8, 2007 by BB
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