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Polyphonic Spree: Together We're Heavy

Polyphonic Spree: Together We're Heavy


By Bret McCabe | Posted 8/18/2004

The Polyphonic Spree’s sophomore album, Together We’re Heavy, arrives after two years in the waiting and miles of ink in the anticipating, and it feels both everything promised by the demo-scratchy The Beginning Stages Of . . . yet still a poor substitute for the flying-robe splendor of its live carnival. The Spree finally sounds polyphonic, thanks to robust production that polishes the soft-to-loud uplift that remains the group’s reason to be. Cult leader Tim DeLaughter still takes credit for everything concocted by his 20-plus-member orchestra. And they’re all naturally stoned on unbridled euphoria. With Heavy, the Spree dares you to find a frown it can’t turn upside down.

Thing is, the damn thing works in places even when you know all this. The Beatles-on-steroids “Hold Me Now” carries that weight of the world away on a sky-climbing cascade of choir voices on the chorus. A cavalcade of brass, timpani drums, bah-bah-bah-bahs, and harp announces the arrival of “Two Thousand Places,” a sunburst that feels more thrilling than the mostest bestest birthday party ever. And even when the Spree starts out at a naptime pace (“Suitcase Calling”), it’s just a breath catch before the sugar high kicks in.

Heavy’s effortless elation makes you wonder just how conditioned the pop brain is to respond to saccharine ’60s cheer, as if all a bad day needs is the right beat, the right summery melody, and the right voices positively reinforcing that everything will be fine. It’s certainly a nice gesture, but the creep factor is starting to kick in. And hard.

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