The Fragile Army
Although the sound of 30 people making music is always going to have an uplifting edge to it, the songs here are less self-consciously happy-clappy than before.
Rating: 8 / 10
Phil Udell, 18 Jul 2007
If it wasn’t for The Polyphonic Spree there wouldn’t be an Arcade Fire, and if it wasn’t for Arcade Fire The Polyphonic Spree would find life a lot easier. Discuss.
While you ponder that one, we’ll move onto The Polyphonic Spree’s third album. Again without a record label, it’s been funded and released by Tim DeLaughter himself, a staggering act of faith considering the costs presumably involved. Yet that has always been the beauty of The Polyphonic Spree, that the whole thing was a triumph of belief over reason.
Even such conviction can take a battering though, and the cover presents a new, sombre Spree with the robes replaced by black uniforms. It’s a transition that also applies to the music within. Although the sound of 30 people making music is always going to have an uplifting edge to it, the songs here are less self-consciously happy-clappy than before.
The Polyphonic experience is still a unique one though – a cacophony of sounds, massed vocals and anthemic choruses. Unique, that is, until Funeral came along and spoiled the party by being a consistently better record and filling the media quota for huge bands with an unhinged approach. Put The Fragile Army side by side with The Neon Bible though and you’ll get a different result. It’s stronger, more consistent and has superior songs. Not that this will change the order of things, but at least Tim DeLaughter can rest assured that his struggle was not in vain.