Sprawling choral rock
The Polyphonic Spree return to Austin with new single and tour after a four yearhiatus from the robes
The sprawling 21-piece choral rock band The Polyphonic Spree returns to Austin after a four-year hiatus.
Front man and Dallas native Tim DeLaughter has spent the time away from the road working on new material for the spree as well as his side project Preteen Zenith. He also managed an Emmy nomination for the title song for Showtime show United States of Tara during the break from touring with his nearly two-dozen band mates.
DeLaughter formed the band after his band mate in Tripping Daisy died in 1999. Shortly after forming the band jump-started their career in Austin. The band had just finished their demo, The Beginning Stages Of…, when they were well received by audiences at South By Southwest. Word of mouth about the humongous band in church robes found them playing bigger venues, but it wasn’t until Volkswagen and the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” used their song “Light and Day/Reach For the Sun” that the band found themselves on every festival’s wish list.
DeLaughter checked in before heading out on the tour and reflected on that SXSW. “We went to make an impact,” he said. “We played seven shows over three days and slept about 28 people to three or four rooms. It was insane.”
The band’s popularity grew with the release of Together We’re Heavy in 2004. In 2007 they released their last album, The Fragile Army as well as their performance on Austin City Limits.
“What Would You Do?” the band’s third song to be released in as many months was recorded in separate sessions without getting all 21 band members in the same room. DeLaughter shrugged off any difficulties of coordinating a band that large for studio sessions. “I don’t know anymore, we are used to it. I guess in the very beginning it was tougher than it ever actually seemed at times.”
The band is playing many of the smaller venues they first found themselves playing a decade ago, including La Zona Rosa and a hometown show at the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas.
The band plans to announce more tour dates after this brief run and as for a new album they are just taking it one song at a time and DeLaughter said they will continue to record and release new tracks. He still lives in Dallas where he started the band. When asked if being from Texas had any influence over the band, he said “Maybe the fact most people believe Texans are crazy helped us dream of starting a 20-something piece band.”
The Polyphonic Spree play La Zona Rosa on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Good Records Recordings label mates New Fumes open the show.