Together We're Heavy Album reviews.
Release Date: 07.13.04
Record label: Hollywood Records
He's My Brother
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent
Subtle changes have tweaked The Polyphonic Spree during a year that has seen them rise from being a curiosity, through obscurity to cult status. When The Beginning Stages Of The Polyphonic Spree was unleashed on the public last year, it was welcomed with open arms by a musical audience who were ripe for something so off the wall. But the flowing white robes and sun-worshiping songs could not hold our attention for ever.
And so, on their return the seemingly endless number of band members have donned colourful attire, honed their guitar skills and started to sing songs about love and other deep mysteries. A recipe for success, you would think. But something still niggles me about Together We’re Heavy because I can’t help thinking that it should be a lot better than it is. This was an opportunity for the Spree to take a leap of faith forward and produce an album based less on novelty and more on musical genius. Yet the ten tracks on the new album are littered with random, drawn-out instrumental sections which don’t sound too good and, with flutes and strings and trumpets, play far too heavily on the reputation they gained as peace-loving musicians of the new age.
Looking back, that was the main drawback with the debut album which had around four stand-out tracks on it but saw them sandwiched between slow retro sounds that diluted the quality. There are songs on the new album that are as good as "It’s The Sun" and "Soldier Girl." "Two Thousand Places" and "Hold Me Now" are impeccably played and sound great. But "A Long Day Continues," "When A Fool Becomes A King" and "Suitcase Calling" are over eight minutes long each and much of that is whimpering and droning rubbish.
Also annoying is how a few refrains regurgitate lines from the first album. “Hey, it’s the sun and it makes me shine” is a great line, but leave it where it was and don’t bring it into other songs!
The Polyphonic Spree’s steam train gained pace after the debut CD, but may be slowing down with this album at a time when the band were due to support David Bowie’s mammoth tour of the United States before the singer had to have emergency heart surgery.
The CD is fun. But The Polyphonic Spree are right: sometimes they are heavy together. Heavy enough to sink without a trace. 12-Jul-2004 9:18 AM