The Polyphonic Spree
Together, We're Heavy
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2005, Volume 12, #11
Written by John Metzger
The Polyphonic Spree’s sophomore effort Together We’re Heavy was a rich and vibrant blast of art-rock heaven, but in comparison with its incarnation as a surround sound recording, the standard stereo version sounds flat and lifeless. Indeed, the new edition, which features both DTS and DVD-Audio renditions of the album, splendidly showcases the ensemble’s expansive arrangements. Considering that The Polyphonic Spree boasts a line-up of more than 20 members, it would have been easy to invoke an array of gimmicky tricks that subverted the band’s stylistic approach by showcasing the gloss and glitz of the latest technological developments, but Frank Filipetti, who sculpted the 5.1 channel mix of the album, refrained from employing anything overtly ornate. In other words, he didn’t add drama to the music; he simply built upon what already was embedded within it, thereby allowing its symphonic refrains to blossom into a multidimensional landscape. As a result, the detailed depths of the group’s intricate vision envelope the listener in an effortless, organic manner. Flourishes of trumpet, french horn, flute, harp, and theremin are just a few of the instruments that glide across the sophisticated, sonic terrain, and the clarity of the recording serves to enhance the explosiveness of the material as it shifts from a fragile whisper to a towering, majestic burst of gospel glory. It’s the vocals, however, that benefit the most, as the separation among the channels provides greater room for the various choral configurations to weave their theatrical magic. At times, front man Tim DeLaughter’s thin voice seems lost within the heady swirl, but taken in full, Together We’re Heavy is an ambitious endeavor that largely improves when its orchestrations are expanded to epic proportions. As an added bonus, the DVD-Audio/DTS edition is augmented with a brief biography; a photo gallery; mix breakdowns for Hold Me Now and Two Thousand Places, each of which is dissected into a quartet of tracks; and a pair of exquisite videos — one animated, one live action — for Light & Day from The Beginning Stages of..., The Polyphonic Spree’s debut.
Together We're Heavy [DVD-Audio/DTS Edition] is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box