The robe-wearing, good-time promoting, pop-rock orchestra that is Dallas' Polyphonic Spree will release their third album, The Fragile Army, this summer.
The twenty-plus-member band have become known for their wildly celebratory material -- about the joy of love and relationships -- since their 2003 debut, The Beginning Stages of the Polyphonic Spree. But frontman and primary songwriter Tim DeLaughter says that, this time around, expect the ensemble to deal with the political issues of the day -- something the Spree haven't done since the Iraq-inspired "Soldier Girl."
"It's definitely going to have that [orchestral] element, but it's our most urgent record to date. It's a bit resonant of the times," DeLaughter says of the new cuts. "There's a song called 'The Fragile Army,' the title track, and it's basically an ode-to-Bush song. It's disgruntled with how things have been going and how split up it seems we are as Americans. There is a sense, for me, of trying to create some sort of unity with people."
In order to push themselves in the studio, DeLaughter enlisted John Congleton, singer for punk trio the Paper Chase, as producer. "[His band] is kind of a complete opposite of Polyphonic Spree, and we just thought it'd be interesting," he explains. "It's been a great relationship."
Currently laying down the string parts in Texas, the Spree have also visited Minnesota, where they put down the drums, and the Illinois studio of producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies), where they recorded the group's signature choir parts.
"John does a lot of records there and he's friends with Steve," Delaughter said of Albini's Electrical Audio in Chicago. "John said the B room would be great room for the choir, and it was awesome. I'm super-excited about how that turned out. The girls did fantastic."
The Spree are already working on changing the look of the gospel-style robes for their upcoming live dates in support of The Fragile Army -- as well as a new stage show. "It's a rock record!" says DeLaughter. "It's high-energy and electric. And I think my 'Tripping Daisy' days might be slipping in there as well."