Home Read Albums Of The Week: The Polyphonic Spree | Afflatus

Albums Of The Week: The Polyphonic Spree | Afflatus

The Dallas orch-pop heroes play favourites with a typically lush collection of covers.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Polyphonic Spree’s first album since 2014’s Psychphonic, Afflatus is a collection of covers recorded live in one evening at the band’s home studio, just before the 2020 lockdown. It features songs by INXS, Barry Manilow, Abba, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Bee Gees, The Monkees, Wings, Daniel Johnston and The Association.

Featuring a range of material from a diverse group of artists that all hold a special significance to the band, the track list includes songs like She’s A Rainbow — a staple of The Polyphonic Spree’s live set for years — as well as songs that fans have never heard before, like Could It Be Magic by Barry Manilow, which holds a special significance to DeLaughter.

“A lot of the music I’m attracted to, melodically speaking, can be traced back to my younger years,” he explains. “I was running my dad’s business on the weekends as a kid, and there was this cassette of Barry Manilow songs that I played over and over. I loved the grandiose, high-reaching production for essentially a pop song.

“It was inevitable that The Spree would end up doing this,” adds DeLaughter. “We were asked to play a covers show at The Kessler Theater in Dallas and were ready to go, but with the shutdowns starting to happen around the country, we made the last-minute call not to perform. We had all been together for weeks rehearsing, so we decided to get the band together at our home studio and record the entire show live in one take, just to capture it. We knew it was probably going to be the last time we saw each other for a long time, and the next day, everything started to close.”

The album opens with Don’t Change by INXS, which the band first performed on their 2010 tour of Australia. “We wanted to pay homage to one of their country’s great artists,” DeLaughter adds, “but it’s also just an awesome song. I love its forward-moving, almost gliding feel.”

The disc closes with a cover of the Rush classic The Spirit of Radio. “The Spirit Of Radio actually goes back to high school,” explains DeLaughter. “I covered it with my high school band Regency, so for nostalgic reasons, we thought it would be fun to try it with The Spree.”

Having just celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band, The Polyphonic Spree are also at work on a new album of original material slated for release this fall.”