The Fragile Army
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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.
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 DilibertoSee all Editorial Reviews
Top customer reviews
If you want a soundtrack to a hopeful and happy life, get this disk and let the Spree accompany your happiness.
Most recent customer reviews
My first thought 'What the f--k is going on here?Read more