Polyphonic Spree – The Fragile Army

Polyphonic SpreeThe first album by the Polyphonic Spree has always been a big favourite of mine. When they first got big in the UK, I was having a pretty miserable time. Things just weren’t going good for no obvious reason. Then I went to the Gig On The Green Festival (by myself, another pointer as to how bad things were) in 2002. Second on the bill were the Polyphonic Spree, a band that consisted of over 20 members all clad in flowing white robes. The small crowd didn’t see initially into them at first but the band soon won the crowd and myself over with an infectious and uplifting choral pop sound. I found myself smiling and clapping and just loving this music.

The Fragile Army is the groups third album, following 2004’s Together We’re Heavy. Gone are the flowing white robes, replaced with black military uniforms but the epic sound of the band is still there. Only the moods have been changed: whereas the previous two albums just went straight for the happiness centres of your brain, The Fragile Army doesn’t immediately show its hand. “Running Away” is driven, but doesn’t really peak for me. “Get Up And Go” is a new-wave-ey rock number and the album’s title track shifts into a Broadway musical number.

This isn’t a bad move, three albums of the same type of material would have gotten to be repetitive. But it’s the big bombastic songs towards the end, that I liked the best: “Watch Us Explode (Justify)” is just a huge symphonic energy blast. “Overblow Your Nest” has a gradual build up to a yearning finish. The Fragile Army does feel like the Polyphonic Spree branching out, but it might be nice to see them going out in a final musical explosion rather than tread water musically speaking.

Polyphonic Spree – Running Away:

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