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Wednesday October 1st 2014

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Ears & Fingers 8/8/13

by Jason Leger

The Polyphonic Spree – ‘Yes, It’s True’

“It’s not your party girl yell, it’s not the way that you spell, it’s not the way that you dance, it’s the way that you’re holding my hand. Bear in mind, you’re golden. Bear in mind, you’ve stolen my heart.” It was probably about seven years ago. I had developed a real affinity for the show “Scrubs,” and had inherited the DVDs from one of my good friends. With the power to watch as much as I wanted to, I began to watch episode after episode, not being able to get enough. For me, at this point in my life, the show was absolute perfection. One episode in particular will always stand out to me. A patient had been admitted and had gone through surgery. Once he was out of the woods and recovering, he began talking about his band leaving for Europe in a couple of days, and wanting to jam with them one more time before they left. This brought on an argument between his surgeon and his attending physician about whether or not to let him go and return. In the end, they compromised and brought the band to him. I remember vividly the scene where the band walked into the hospital room. A seemingly endless number of band members, all dressed in white robes and carrying instruments, entered and began to play underneath one of JD’s famous dramatic monologues, which tied the episode together. I couldn’t pay attention to Zach Braff’s summation and prognosis, as I was far too busy listening to the song in the background and watching all these people dance around in white robes, while throwing balloons and glitter into the air. I was enthralled. This was my first encounter with the Polyphonic Spree.

I immediately threw myself into their catalog, which at that point only consisted of two albums, a few EPs, and the soundtrack to the movie “Thumbsucker,” but this was more than enough to give me a strong fondness for the band. Their last effort was 2007’s “The Fragile Army,” which considering the amount of hype I recall being behind it, along with my newfound devotion to the band, proved disappointing. It was just lackluster in almost every way possible.

Now it’s 2013, and it’s a brand new day for you, for me, and, yes, for the Polyphonic Spree. This month sees the release of “Yes, It’s True,” the Spree’s long-awaited fourth full-length album. Honestly, after the release of “The Fragile Army,” I went into a bit of a ho-hum state over the band. They rose and fell quicker than any other who stole my heart. So when I heard of the impending album release, I met it with minimal excitement. Last week, I put the album on for the first time in the background while I was working. My attitude was adjusted very quickly. Pomp, flair, symphony, drama, urgency, optimism, and, of course, mass choir vocals all sprang at me and I was captivated. I listened to the album all the way through, and I wasn’t satisfied. I listened four times in a row, and even now, I can’t get enough. The album is catchy, but unpredictable, raucous when it needs to be, but emotionally balanced, and, as always, singer Tim DeLaughter finds ways to exude honesty, chivalry, and positivity, while basically instructing a three ring circus worth of people. Highlights for me are opener “You Don’t Know Me,” the spry “Hold Yourself Up,” and elegant closer “Battlefield.” The absolute stand out track is the shimmering ballad “You’re Golden.” From my very first listen, it stirred me, as portrayed in the lyrics at the beginning of this article. The album is full of symphonic wonder and effervescent glee. I enjoyed every second of it, and if your heart and soul are intact, you will too. “Yes, It’s True” is out now via Good Records.