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Music / The Polyphonic Spree

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Together they're heavy.
Formed in 2000 by Tripping Daisy frontman Tim DeLaughter, The Polyphonic Spree is an orchestral rock band with many members, including those formerly in Tripping Daisy. All the band members are decked out in matching uniforms — mostly flowing robes in an Amazing Technicolor World of colors — and the music can be described as breathtakingly uplifting, even when the subjects can be a bit sullen every once in a while.


  • The Beginning Stages Of The Polyphonic Spree - 2002
  • Together We're Heavy - 2004
  • Thumbsucker - 2005 (film soundtrack)
  • The Fragile Army - 2007
  • Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays, Volume 1 - 2012
  • Yes, It's True - 2013
  • Psychphonic - 2014

Tropes associated with the Polyphonic Spree:

  • Call-Back: The end of "When The Fool Becomes A King" is basically a reprise of "It's The Sun".
  • The Cameo: The entire band showed up in an episode of Scrubs, after one of their members got hospitalized.
  • Careful with That Axe: A couple seconds of screaming choir members shows up in the middle of "The Fragile Army".
  • Christmas Episode: Holidaydream: Sounds Of The Holidays, Volume 1, released in 2012.
  • Cover Version: The Spree will perform covers of almost any song imaginable at their live shows, even going so far as to do their version of Nirvana's "Lithium".
    • "Hold Me Now" is not a cover of the Thompson Twins hit, however.
    • In 2012 they did a live performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and released it as an album.
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  • Epic Rocking: "When The Fool Becomes A King" is 10 1/2 minutes long. "A Long Day" goes on for 36 minutes, but it doesn't do much rocking, just a bunch of instrumental ambient sounds.
  • Idiosyncratic Album Theming: The Spree's albums consist of "sections", and are listed as such on the track listings. For example, "Two Thousand Places" is listed as "Section 14 (Two Thousand Places)". And the numbering is continued from album to album (their fourth album, Yes It's True, contains Sections 33-43). Apparently, an original song has to be on a proper album in order to get a section number: "I'm Calling" from the Wait EP note  didn't get one, nor did any of the music they composed for the film Thumbsucker.
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  • Leave the Camera Running: "Section 10 (A Long Day)", the final track of The Beginning Stages Of... is a 36 minute ambient piece consisting of a sustained chord on an indeterminate instrument being looped - it sounds not unlike a skipping CD, but occasionally the chord changes.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The reason all the members wear monochromatic robes: having lots of performers on stage, each wearing their own unique outfit, can be distracting.
  • New Sound Album: The Fragile Army had the group tackle Darker and Edgier material, plus the sound got more rock-ish and the band members donned bleaker-looking black uniforms.
  • Not Christian Rock: Especially early on, they were mistaken for a Christian band due to the robes and uplifting music. DeLaughter has said he wasn't thinking of any religious connotations when he came up with the band's look: He wanted to have uniforms because he felt a large group on stage in their street clothes would look too disorganized, and the robes were originally white because he wanted to project images onto a screen onstage and also have them reflect off the band members' clothing.
  • "Pachelbel's Canon" Progression: "Light & Day."
  • Rainbow Motif: With the exception of Fragile Army-era black uniforms, the wardrobe of the Spree consists of flowing robes in every color of the rainbow.
  • Revolving Door Band: Pretty much unavoidable when you have an orchestral setup with a dozen or so members.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Spree may be seen as picking up where Electric Light Orchestra left off.
  • Sugar Bowl: The Beginning Stages could very well be the soundtrack to this trope.
  • Take That!: "The Fragile Army" (the Title Track from their 2007 album) lampoons George W. Bush.
  • Theremin: Toby Hallbrooks played this instrument while part of the Spree in the mid-2000s, and was featured prominently on a few tracks in Together We're Heavy.
  • X Meets Y: Marilyn Manson once introduced the band at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards by saying: "If Mandy Moore and I had a love child, this is what they'd look like." He also called them "the white D12."
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: In 2005, the Spree put on a holiday show called "The Polyphonic Spree Christmas Carol", with Tim playing Ebenezer Scrooge in an act of Self-Deprecation.