The Polyphonic Spree
The Polyphonic Spree
The Polyphonic Spree at the 2005 V Festival
|Origin||Dallas, Texas, United States|
|Genres||Psychedelic pop, symphonic rock|
|Labels||679, Hollywood, Good, TVT|
|Associated acts||Tripping Daisy, Preteen Zenith, St. Vincent, Mandrake Project|
The Polyphonic Spree is an American choral rock band from Dallas, Texas that was formed in 2000 by Tim DeLaughter. The band's sound relies on a variety of vocal and instrumental color by featuring a choir, flute, trumpet, french horn, trombone, violin, viola, cello, percussion, piano, guitars, bass, drums, electronic keyboards, and EWI.
DeLaughter's previous group, Tripping Daisy, came to an abrupt end in 1999 when guitarist Wes Berggren died of a drug overdose. The Polyphonic Spree was formed, in part, in reaction to Berggren's death.
In 2000, DeLaughter collaborated with 12 other musicians to put together a sound that reflected the music he grew up with. He wanted to explore the orchestral palette and pop sensibility of The Beatles, The Association, The 5th Dimension, Wings, Electric Light Orchestra and The Beach Boys and the vocal style of Ozzy Osbourne from Black Sabbath. Within two weeks, The Polyphonic Spree created a 30-minute set, donned their signature white choir robes and performed with Grandaddy and Bright Eyes.
Shortly after their first show, 12 more musicians joined the band, and they recorded The Beginning Stages of ... The Polyphonic Spree, which contained all nine songs (sections) written for their first show plus a tenth track ("Section 10 – Long Day"). The album was intended to serve as a demo recording for booking the band for live performances. As a result of the attention they received from the press and other industry pundits after performing at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, the band was invited to perform at London's Meltdown Festival curated by David Bowie in 2002. They opened for The Divine Comedy at the Royal Festival Hall the same year.
In early 2003, they were dropped by their record label, 679 Recordings, for "lack of record sales." About this time, the band began to break into pop culture. The song "Light and Day / Reach For the Sun" was used in a joint Volkswagen Beetle/iPod tie-in advertising campaign, appearing on television commercials nationwide in 2004. The same song was used in a tribute to Bill Walsh during an NFL football preseason special, in an episode of the TV series Scrubs, in Murderball, a documentary about the U.S. wheelchair rugby team, and as the end music for the first series of the BBC Radio 7 sci-fi comedy Undone; the song's video was adapted for the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (the DVD features a clip). Also during this time the band was invited to be an opening act for Bowie's Reality Tour and again performed at South by Southwest.
In 2004, Hollywood Records released the Spree's second album, Together We're Heavy, in Japan on June 30, Europe on July 12, and North America on July 13, 2004. The band was featured on Scrubs on April 20, 2004, in the episode "My Choosiest Choice of All" (season 3, episode 19); and on the TV show Las Vegas on November 29, 2004, in the episode "Silver Star" (season 2, episode 10). In December 2004, The Polyphonic Spree performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, honoring Wangari Maathai before a worldwide television audience.
On June 19, 2007, the band released their third complete album, The Fragile Army, produced by John Congleton. On their 2007 tours The Polyphonic Spree replaced their robes with black army outfits while continuing to don the robes during encores. In July 2007, the song "Running Away" was featured on the Sci-Fi network in commercials for its upcoming season. In the autumn of 2007, Adidas commissioned artists to write theme songs for MLS teams as part of a campaign called "MLS Represent", and the Polyphonic Spree was chosen to write a song for FC Dallas. The result was the song "H-O-O-P-S Yes!" In September 2007, the Polyphonic Spree performed three songs: "Light and Day / Reach for the Sun", "Soldier Girl", and "Light to Follow", at Oscar de la Renta's Spring 2008 Fashion Show for New York Fashion Week. They recorded the opening track to the Showtime series Weeds for season 2 (episode 9), and also contributed to the Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Nightmare Before Christmas tribute CDs. UK channel Sky Sports used "Running Away" to advertise their spring and summer cricket coverage. UK supermarket Sainsbury's continues to use "Light and Day / Reach For the Sun" for its advertising campaign. It became the most-used song in advertising in the United Kingdom.
In 2009, the band wrote and performed the opening sequence to Showtime's new show The United States of Tara, which stars Toni Collette as a woman with multiple personality disorder. They first performed the song live on their Australian tour, in Adelaide. "Light and Day / Reach for the Sun" was also featured on the "Your UQ" advertising campaign for the University of Queensland.
On July 11, 2011, the band released Bullseye, an interactive music video app for iOS devices featuring the first single from a collection of songs.
"Light and Day / Reach For the Sun" was featured in the movie trailer for the 2012 animated film The Lorax. On October 11, 2012, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their next studio album, tour, live album, and concert DVD. They reached their funding goal of $100,000 on November 28. The band's Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays, Vol. One was released in 2012, featuring an original introduction, outro and Polyphonic Spree cover versions of classic Christmas songs including "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and "Let it Snow".
On August 6, 2013, the band played a sold-out concert at London's Village Underground to mark the release of their album Yes, It's True. The performance was broadcast live on Vimeo. A US release show at the Granada Theater in Dallas followed on August 9, and the band toured in support of the album worldwide. A live DVD was released in October 2013, and the band played their famous Holiday Extravaganza in Dallas, Texas on December 21.
The Polyphonic Spree headlined the 2015 Big D NYE party, December 31, 2014, at Dallas's Victory Park at the American Airlines Center. The free outdoor concert was attended by a crowd of over 40,000, who gathered for the annual New Year's Eve event. Perhaps because of the 35 °F weather, the choir wore matching winter ponchos, while other musicians wore pajamas. DeLaughter's headgear resembled a Fred Flintstone Grand Poobah lodge hat (tall fur with buffalo horns). Covers included Wings' "Band on the Run" and the Thunderclap Newman hit "Something in the Air." The band occasionally paused to sync with television cues, as the concert was broadcast live to a regional television audience of over 12 million in Texas and surrounding states.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|The Beginning Stages of...||—||—||—||65||58||70|
|Together We're Heavy||
|The Fragile Army||
|Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays, Vol. One||
|Yes, It's True||
|"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released|
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2002||"Hanging Around"||36||39||The Beginning Stages of...|
|2003||"Light and Day"||38||40|
|"The March"||—||—||Polyphonic Spree/Grandaddy split|
|2004||"Hold Me Now"||87||72||Together We're Heavy|
|"Two Thousand Places"||92||76|
|2007||"Running Away"||65||—[A]||The Fragile Army|
|2012||"What Would You Do?"||—||—||Yes, It's True|
|2013||"You Don't Know Me"||—||—|
|"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released|
- Live From Austin, TX: The Polyphonic Spree (2004)
- Coachella (2006)
- SXSW Live 2007 DVD (2007)
- You + Me - Live in NYC (2013)
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
- Scrubs (2004)
- Thumbsucker (2005)
- Mozart and the Whale (2005)
- Murderball (2005)
- The Best Man (2005)
- Keeping Up with the Steins (2006)
- Visioneers (2008)
- The Lorax (2012)
- The Big Short (2015)
- Wig in a Box, "Wig in a Box" (2003)
- Follow My Voice: With the Music of Hedwig DVD (2006)
- Nightmare Revisited, "Town Meeting Song" (2008)
- "Running Away" did not enter the UK Singles Chart, but peaked at number 52 on the UK Physical Singles Chart Top 100.
- Current members
- Tim DeLaughter – lead vocals, guitar, piano
- Mark Pirro – bass
- Jessica Jordan – backing vocals
- Jenny Kirtland – backing vocals
- Kristin Hardin – backing vocals
- Elizabeth Evans – backing vocals
- Neil Smith - backing vocals
- Julie Doyle – backing vocals
- Natalie Young – backing vocals
- Jason Garner – drums
- Bach Norwood – piano, keyboards, backing vocals
- Rachel Woolf – flute
- Allen Halas - percussion
- Buffi Jacobs – cello
- Evan Weiss – trumpet
- Paul Deemer – trombone
- Mike St.Clair – trombone, synth effects
- Heather Test – French horn
- Sean Redman – violin, mandolin
- Kelly Test – percussion
- Victoria Arellano – classical harp
- Nick Earl – guitar
- Darin Hieb - trumpet, backing vocals
- Ryan Fitzgerald – guitar, backing vocals
- Past members (incomplete listing)
- Josh Guyer - trombone, spoons
- Cory Helms – guitar, backing vocals
- Chris Curiel - trumpet
- Jay Jennings – trumpet
- Tamara Brown – violin
- Elizabeth Brown – backing vocals
- Apotsala Wilson – backing vocals
- Jennie Kelley – backing vocals
- Paul Hillery – vinyl backing
- Stephen Dix – vinyl backing
- Rick G. Nelson – viola
- Audrey Easley – flute, piccolo, EWI
- Nick Groesch – piano, keyboards
- Keith Hendricks – percussion
- Evan Hisey – keyboards
- Japhy Ryder - floristry
- Dylan Silvers – guitar
- Annie Clark – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
- Regina Chellew – guitar, trumpet, backing vocals
- Daniel Hart – violin
- John Lamonica – percussion
- Stuart "Peebs" Peebles - piccolo
- Marcus Lopez – percussion
- Matt Bricker – trumpet, synth effects
- Taylor Young – percussion
- Joe Butcher – steel
- Evan Jacobs – piano, keyboards
- Todd Berridge – viola
- Jessica Berridge – choir
- Edwin Mendoza – viola
- Joseph Singleton – viola
- Timothy Blowers – harp
- Anthony Richards – steel drums
- Louis Schwadron – French horn
- Andrew Tinker – French horn
- Nick Wlodarczyk – trombone
- Paul Gaughran – flute
- Brian Teasley – percussion
- Corn Mo – backing vocals
- James Reimer – trombone
- Davey 'Crabsticks' Trotter - Mellotron
- Toby Halbrooks – theremin
- Jason Rees – backing vocals
- Merritt Lota – steel drums
- Frank Benjaminsen – backing vocals
- Mark Beardsworth - claviola
- Stephanie Dolph – backing vocals
- Jennifer Jobe – backing vocals
- Isabelo Cruz - french horn
- Mike Elio – backing vocals
- Kelly Repka – backing vocals
- Jason Rees – backing vocals
- Jeneffa Soldatic – backing vocals
- Michael Turner – backing vocals
- Mike Mordecai – percussion
- Michael Musick – backing vocals
- Melissa Crutchfield – backing vocals
- Sandra Powers Giasson – backing vocals
- Daniel Huffman – guitar
- Bryan Wakeland – drums
- Josh David Jordan – backing vocals
- Jared Pechonis – theremin
- Jenelle Valencia – violin
- Roy Thomas Ivy – backing vocals
- Jamey Welch – backing vocals
- Hayley McCarthy – viola
- Christine Bolon – backing vocals
- Dave Dusters – percussion, backing vocals
- Billy Mills-Curran – flute
- Logan Keese – trumpet
- Ricky Rasura – classical harp
- Todd Beaupré - vibraslap
- Paul Jones - follower
- Gary Jones - follower
- Theodore Cruz – follower
- "An Epic Performance by the Polyphonic Spree". NPR. June 30, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- "The Polyphonic Spree". musicOMH. August 27, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- "Embracing the spirit of the Polyphonic Spree - May. 13, 2003". CNN.com. May 13, 2003. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- "The Polyphonic Spree on". Fasterlouder.com.au. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- "Meltdown | The Divine Comedy (+ The Polyphonic Spree)". Meltdown.southbankcentre.co.uk. June 17, 2002. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- "Polyphonic Spree Enjoy Volkswagen Ride While Preparing Second Album". MTV Networks. February 10, 2004. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
- "Nobel Peace Prize 2004". Nobel Peace Prize Committee. Archived from the original on August 20, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- "Thumbsucker - Production Credits". New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- Pitchfork: Rapture, Spree, RJD2, Bad Brains Pen Soccer Anthems Archived December 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "adidas MLS Soccer". Adidas.com. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
- "Oscar de la Renta Spring 2008". Style/Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
- "Weeds Music". Showtime. Archived from the original on October 2, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
- "Most used music in commercials revealed". Prsformusic.com. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- Gubbins, Teresa. "Polyphonic Spree's Tim DeLaughter wrote theme song for new Showtime series United States of Tara". Pegasus News/PanLocal Media, LLC. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "Television Commercials - Your UQ - The University of Queensland, Australia". Your UQ. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "Bullseye by Polyphonic Spree". iTunes. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
- The Lorax movie trailer
- Julia Cook (August 11, 2014). "Album Stream: Polyphonic Spree - Psychphonic". Paste (magazine).
- "Polyphonic Spree - Billboard".
- "Polyphonic Spree - Billboard Heatseekers".
- "Polyphonic Spree - Billboard Independent".
- "Polyphonic Spree Irish Charts".
- Peaks in Scotland:
- For peaks within top 100: "Polyphonic Spree > UK Charts". Official Charts Company. officialcharts.com/.
- For peaks within top 200, before 2011: "Chart Log UK - 1994–2010 Rodney P. – The Pussycat Dolls".
- For peaks within top 200, 2013: "Chart Log UK - 2013".
- Peaks in Scotland:
- HANGING AROUND: "Official Scottish Singles Chart Top 100 2002 10 27". Official Charts Company. officialcharts.com/.
- LIGHT AND DAY: "Official Scottish Singles Chart Top 100 2003 02 16". Official Charts Company. officialcharts.com/.
- SOLDIER GIRL: "Official Scottish Singles Chart Top 100 2003 07 20". Official Charts Company. officialcharts.com/.
- HOLD ME NOW: "Official Scottish Singles Chart Top 100 2004 08 01". Official Charts Company. officialcharts.com/.
- TWO THOUSAND PLACES: "Official Scottish Singles Chart Top 100 2004 11 28". Official Charts Company. officialcharts.com/.
- Running Away: "Official Scottish Singles Chart Top 100 2007 08 19". Official Charts Company. officialcharts.com/.
- "Official Physical Singles Chart Top 100 - 19 August 2007 - 25 August 2007". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- "The Polyphonic Spree Get Happy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 23, 2018.