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The Polyphonic Spree is a Texas based group. I was first informed about this band at least 2 years ago where my brother saw them play in their home state of Texas. I've listened to this album ever since. The ablum itself has a theme consisting of going through a day (note the song titles). some songs can stand alone pretty well by themselves but I'd say the album is best when taken as a whole.
NOTE: My review is based on the original 10 song version of their album. I am reviewing the original versions of these songs. Some songs have alternate versions released as singles and so forth.
The band itself is rather unique, consisting of a chorus of vocalists, along with a plethora of other instruments. Many times they sound like they would've fit perfectly in the 60s and 70s. At first look, they simply look like a cult. They perform (as my brother has told me) in all white robes, all bearing huge smiles on their faces. I have decided to write this review now because in America, their video for "Light & Day" has gotten some decent airtime on MTV and MTV2. For those of you in the UK, I'm sure you've probably heard of them.
Have a Day/Celebratory 4:38
The song starts with an introduction filled with mixed emotions. A rather melancholy piano plays, while some strings enter in to the song. Slowly all the instruments enter in. Being that there is so much going on, it's rather hard for me to identify one instrument. Soon, the bells enter along with the vocals. The single set of vocals are soon backed by a whole chorus. The song (like just about all the songs) has extremely repetitive vocals. These small phrases that are repeated can get irritating but often the lyrics are good. The true beauty of the songs are the build up of instrumentals and emotion. The song reaches its climax when the full band enters and the pitch of the simple vocal line "la, la, la" spirals down.
It's the Sun 5:33
This song is nothing so great in my opinion. A rather nice song. Again, "Hey, it's the sun and it makes me shine" is the one lyrical phrase repeated as if the words were going out of style. Some rather interesting instrumentals are featured throughout the song and to put it in the most simple and corny way possible, it's a rather "warm" song.
Days Like This Keep Me Warm 4:05
A slong song, that has a dreary, melancholy feeling throughout it. It's a very nice, gentle song though. The flute playing throughout the song really sets a perfect mood. The song is pretty stationary though; there's really not much movement in it. It is however a beautiful song.
La La 2:10
A relatively loud follow up to the last song. Short and sweet. I'd say the drum beat is really the driving force of this song. The song has a bit of a strange sound to it.
Middle of the Day 2:45
Definitely the strangest song on the album. It starts with some strange noises. If I had to identify them in a polic lineup, I'd be screwed. A pretty haunting sound is found throughout the whole song. Eerie vocals plus eerie scattered instrumentals make for a a sound that seems to be crying for help. I most definitely love the rain stick in the background though.
Hanging Around the Day, Pt. 1 2:37
The start of a block of truly great songs. This song is only instrumentals. A different instrument is added to the song every 30 seconds or less. See next song for full review.
Hanging Around the Day, Pt. 2 2:39
Accurately titled, this is simply part 2. Now, the vocals finally come in. A true feel good song. Very catchy, both the vocals and the instruments. I'm not exactly sure, but I think it's a french horn that you can hear pretty clearly throughout the song. This adds to the mood of the song rather well. Taken separately, Part 1 and Part 2 aren't anything so great, but I think together it really creates a great song. I guess the split is just for people who want to skip right to the lyrical portion, although I think the instruments are the highlight of the song(s).
Soldier Girl 3:59
Next song in the block of good music is this song, possibly the catchiest of all the songs. Definitely a very unique song. I admit it though, I have no idea what a soldier girl is, nor would I know if I found my soldier girl. The song consists of mostly extrememly simplistic lyrics that some how can't escape your mind. About 3/4 into the song, the sounds changes and it sounds as if you were underwater or stuck in a wind tunnel. you can look at this as either pretty cool or extremely stupid (I view it in the former).
Light & Day/Reach for the Sun 3:23
I would say this is the best stand alone song on the album. It's catchy. It's intricate. It actually has some varying lyrics. The song is kind of hard to explain and is best explained by actually listening to it. I will say though that the version released as a single (the orchestrated version) that is playing on TV now is not nearly as good in my opinion. Although there are only some minor differences, the original version of the song sounds a lot better.
A Long Day 36:30
I really don't know what to say about this one. I have yet to listen to it all straight through. If this song is done entirely using only voice, then I find it to at least have some sort of value to it. Otherwise, it's a half hour of what sounds like a jet taking off. A bit of a disappointing ending.
I think this album is one that either you love it or hate it. The lyrics are extremely repetitve, although very happy and uplifting. The instrumentals throughout the album are a fresh addition to music. This album is definitely a feel good album and has a good chance of making you smile a few times. For the quality and uniqueness of this album, I'd give it a: