I doubt anybody forgets the first time they saw The Polyphonic Spree. For me, it was particularly memorable — it was well before noon on a warm Texas morning, and I was one of more than 1,000 sleepy, vaguely hung-over SXSW attendees who had gathered in a cavernous Austin Convention Centre meeting room to listen to that year’s keynote speaker. Frontman Tim DeLaughter and his brand-new ensemble were the opening act — and quite naturally proceeded to blow the unprepared audience’s collective mind with their psychedelic orch-rock majesty and Up With People-slash-hippie choir-slash-religious cult presentation. As the shell-shocked crowd rose to its feet to bestow a well-earned standing ovation upon them, DeLaughter shared the address of their next gig, which was taking place in a few hours’ time. Soon as the now-forgotten keynote address ended, I beelined for the lunchtime show — only to be further gobsmacked (and more than a little bit delighted) to discover that it was being staged in the driveway of an upscale suburban home in an otherwise-quiet neighbourhood. Of course, since it was SXSW, there was also free beer (I believe there was also BBQ and/or Mexican food to be had), and the band had a merch table where I bought their first (and then only) album. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen them since, but I’ll go to my grave remembering those shows. It’s been a while since they showed up on my radar, so it was a treat to learn that they just released this new covers EP, featuring fairly faithful takes on classics from Abba, Wings, The Rolling Stones, The Monkees and even Rush, for a dash of CanCon. Granted, it’s not as exciting as a new album would be, but it’s still nice to get a visit from these old friends. Enjoy. For an extra treat, you could always fire up the grill, tap a keg and blast it in your driveway. Just don’t do it before noon.
Now Hear This: The Polyphonic Spree | We Hope It Finds You Well EP
Tim DeLaughter and his musical cult return with a handful of classic-rock covers.