With a lineup that resembles a sports team more than a band, the choral pop act The Polyphonic Spree could be charged with producing music that leans toward indulgence. But, if anything, the Spree never comes across as affected, with deep song arrangements and layers of sonic effluvia that mingle together much like old friends.
The band will play at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Norman Music Festival on the West Main Stage.
Formed by Nineties Dallas alt-rock act Tripping Daisy's former front man Tim DeLaughter, bassist Mark Pirro and drummer Bryan Wakeland, the inspiration for The Polyphonic Spree was death " more specifically, the drug overdose passing of Tripping Daisy guitarist Wes Berggren.
Using The Polyphonic Spree to channel emotions, DeLaughter and company have created a sound that has been described as "optimist syrup" by music Web site Pitchfork.com. "The Fragile Army," the dozen-plus-member band's third and most recent release, was dubbed "a call to arms orchestrated as psychedelic rock opera" by The Boston Globe.
The "darker" tone of "The Fragile Army" wasn't an attempt to bow to the criticism of the Spree's "happy" songs " and its happy-go-lucky sound took some predictably critical backlash " but instead more of an attempt to coerce together all of the elements of its studio work and stage performances.
"We just wanted to capture our live show " the energy and directness. In every show since the beginning, there's been some digging around in an emotion of light and dark," DeLaughter said. "We've always enjoyed all the critics take on the Spree. I'll leave it at that." " Deborah Benjamin