If Morrissey could once evoke a suicidal tendency or two, then the white-robed, 25-deep clan Polyphonic Spree begs redemption. Together is pure “Sesame Street” for grown-up folk; the same high-spirited soft-core lollipop sound that 38-year-old singer/songwriter Tim DeLaughter was originally going for on 2002’s cult-y The Beginning Stages Of. Three years ago, critics knocked the Spree claiming they were a sleepy mix of Flaming Lips and Brian Wilson nostalgia. Big fuckin’ deal! who doesn’t dig a little waifish flower-powered pop, particularly when Frank Black and Captain Beefheart producer Eric Drew Feldman’s involved? With Feldman, Together does more than just stir up the mush . . . it makes you wish DeLaughter would just shut the hell up and let the band play — and the rewards are in the candy-coated instrumentation and layered harmonies. For example, “A Long Day Continues/We Sound Amazed” opens risk-free enough, then, suddenly, beneath the clammy vocals and overworked keyboards, the bass rises to complete what could be, yes, an orchestral orgasm. And just when things gets cheesy and teary-eyed again, the group spirals into this Mozart-esque noise romp, as on the draining “One Man Show” and title track. It works near-perfectly: like sanctification with an edge, and without the judgment.
Linda Hobbs writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].
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