NPR Story
3:02 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

The Polyphonic Spree Makes A Joyful Noise

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:32 pm

As he does every week, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson recommends a new song for us.

This week he shares with us The Polyphonic Spree‘s new track “What Would You Do?” from their album “Yes, It’s True.

Thompson says the song is indicative of the bold, beautiful anthems that populate the album.

Thompson says that the formation of The Polyphonic Spree came out of the death of one of the band leader’s friends.

“The Polyphonic Spree formed in 2000 by Tim DeLaughter, not too long after the death of one of his friends,” Thompson told Here & Now. “This led him to reassess his life and music — and so, in part because of that, he decided to dedicate himself to music that lifts people’s spirits. He’s been doing it ever since, and the results are often really inspiring.”

Guest

Copyright 2013 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.

Transcript

ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

Well, we have another elevating dose of choral music for you, compliments of NPR Music Stephen Thompson and his song to start your week. And, Stephen, this week it's new music from one of our favorite groups. Tell us what you've got.

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I've got a group called The Polyphonic Spree, a huge band led by a guy named Tim DeLaughter, who used to be in a rock group called Tripping Daisy. The Polyphonic Spree is usually in the neighborhood of 15 or 20 members, and it makes gigantic, massive, kind of symphonic choral pop music with huge choruses and massive instrumentation.

And now the group has a new album called "Yes, It's True." And it's - as is The Polyphonic Spree's want, it's full of bold and beautiful anthems. One of those is called is "What Would You Do?"

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT WOULD YOU DO?")

TIM DELAUGHTER: (Singing) What would you do if you could bring back all the dead? I'd bring back the ones that took a part of my heart when they left. What would you do with the kiss you left of their mouth? I'd kiss them again so they'd never ever, ever run out.

YOUNG: So we love this band, and it's somewhat cynicism free, wouldn't you say?

THOMPSON: Exactly. Everything that The Polyphonic Spree does is about inspiration and uplift. I would say it's one of the world's least cynical bands. Everything about it is built around this prescription for living that is - that's incredibly sweet. And the song - this particular song culminates in a very sweet line where DeLaughter sings we're tragic, we're human, we're beautiful, don't ever forget.

YOUNG: Well, remind us. That's, you know, it's that kind of thinking is how he crossed from a rock group to this band.

THOMPSON: Yeah. The Polyphonic Spree formed in 2000, not too long after the death of one of Tim DeLaughter's band mates in Tripping Daisy. And the passing of his friend led him to reassess his life and his music. And in part, because of that, he decided to dedicate himself to music that is all about lifting people's spirits. And he's been doing it ever since, and the results are I think, especially like with this song, incredibly inspiring.

YOUNG: If memory serves, he did a concert in our area where anyone could come and sing with them and put on a white robe. It's just quite something. The song "What Would You Do?" from The Polyphonic Spree. Stephen, thanks so much.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT WOULD YOU DO?")

DELAUGHTER: (Singing) How would you feel if you knew I really needed you? I really know this about myself. What would you say if I say...

YOUNG: So let us know what you think of NPR Music Stephen Thompson's song for this week, "What Would You Do?" And, Jeremy, my favorite review of the album "Yes, It's True" says they sound like The Flaming Lips if they were fronted by Deepak Chopra.

(LAUGHTER)

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

That's a good image.

YOUNG: From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Robin Young.

HOBSON: I'm Jeremy Hobson. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Related Program