"The Fragile Army" (TVT; 2007)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers


Three of the founding members of The Polyphonic Spree were once Tripping Daisy. That band had a Beatle fascination, primarily during the psychedelic phase of their artificial happy years, and now The Polyphonic Spree have added about twenty more members and created a group that will be coming soon to a field near you. 

David Bowie hand picked these “symphonic rockers” to be on his “Reality Tour.” I wasn’t sure what to expect when I looked at the cover -- maybe an army of black coats were coming to get me -- but, upon further examination, it looks like they are wandering around in a daze. The music has that "high school band" sound with, flutes, trumpets, harps and all those other instruments that I never learned to play ... or appreciate.  

Although The Polyphonic Spree isn’t my cup of herbal tea, it may be yours if you're into Bowie and The Beatles and the sound those bands emitted during their altered states of awareness. TPS remind me of Lord Of The Dance in which different people are cycled through a performance machine. It also has some Pink Floyd residue because you can hear kids singing as forefront to a song. Tripping Daisy to picking daisies.  

Apparently this stuff is happening and crowds gather to sway and stare and the bright colored robes, unless they change outfits. The CD starts with "Section 21" since this is their third disc. They started with "Section 1" and now they’ve worked up to "Section 21." There is some guitar on this disc and it’s not acoustic - "Section 29" has some decent fret work toward the end. Section 30, if I'm not mistaken, has a riff from a 3 Doors Down song titled, “Going Down In Flames.” But that’s about all you’ll get. 

So, should you spend your Starbucks money on a ticket to feel happy while The Polyphonic Spree joyfully sing and make you forget about all your worries? Maybe. But before you do, listen to Tripping Daisy, David Bowie, and The Beatles and then float to an outlet who sells the goodtime lollipop music those bands created long ago.

The Polyphonic Spree: Somewhere between 7 and 20 members.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 15:32:20 -0400.