Polyphonic Spree - Manchester Academy 2 - 4.11.04

When you're faced with Aled Jones or the Polyphonic Spree who are you gonna choose to fill your spiritual void? The Spree may claim not be religious, but spirituality and religion are two different worlds apart. The latter is the sort of thing that Bush wields his persecution with and wars are called over. The former is a place of mind which takes you on a life affirming journey to a better place. It's this place that the Spree take you to with their sunshine drenched symphonic pop and choral harmonies.

It's been a difficult journey for Tim Delaughter and the Spree over the past year or so. Personal demons have had to be overcome as they struggled with the fact that their record deal was taken from them due to poor record sales. The response was to record an second album proper that was even more elaborate and overblown than "The Beginning Stages Of...". The resulting "Together We're Heavy", despite much criticism, was an album which delivered everything we'd expected and assured them the place in history of true artists rather than just being a life affirming live experience.

At times the live experience is hard to take hold of. Songs melt into each other, the number of songs about the sun and growing are too numerous to count on both hands. In truth you're hypnotized into a great spiritual experience where you can remember the beginning and the end, but the middle becomes a blur and a rush to the head. "Hanging Around The Day", "Soldier Girl", "Light & Day/ Reach For The Sun" are interspersed with "Two Thousand Places" and "When the Fool Becomes a King" and yet it doesn't seem to matter for the 10 piece choir and Tim Delaughter could literally be singing anything and it would seem like the most inspired choice in the world.

The Polyphonic Spree offer hope and a philosophy based on a naive and childlike vision of the world, yet isn't that what Brian Wilson offered on "Pet Sounds" and "Smile". Sometimes the most simplistic ideas can be the most complex.

Alex McCann

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