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on 5 July 2007
Following the exceptional but under-appreciated "Together We're Heavy" The Spree return in darker mode (both visually and musically. All the ingredients of their previous work are still there (huge sound, symphonic embellishments and abstract lyrical meanderings brought home by Tim and the choir) but the mix is different. A heavier, rockier sound is present. The drums are to the fore and the symphonic elements are subdued in the mix. The war in Iraq casts a shadow over the work and Tim gives one of the all-time great vocal deliveries in "Overblow your nest", the frustration of mortality sears through his voice, leaving the hairs standing up on the back of your neck. Hope still shines through though, as you would, well, hope from a Polyphonic album. It's kind of more of the same but with a different palette. Watching the video of the process of making the record was fascinating and showed the cracks in the fragile armour. Another grand, bold record but a little harder to swallow than the the sunshine and light of yore. It grows with every listen though.
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on 29 July 2007
I pre-ordered this album from the states after the fantastic service I received with the "Together We're Heavy" ensure your reservation pre-order, and the offer of a double vinyl, CD/DVD and other "bits" for £30 was too much to refuse. As soon as I got home from uni and saw the box marked "US Customs approved" sitting waiting for me I tore into it. I watched the DVD before listening to the album all the way through. I was already worried by the band's new military style uniform, and the fact that on the DVD Tim says this album is heavier and more how he saw the band going, but on listening to the album I relaxed. Although not as good (in my opinion) as its predecessor "Together We're Heavy" this album did not leave my computer or MP3 player for a week after I got it. It's another album which plays best with each track back to back, and the unique touch of having 23 members singing or playing their various instruments consecutively stamps it with The Polyphonic Spree marque. The new pianist (Mike Garson, long time David Bowie pianist) lends an expert touch, and can be seen on the DVD to save one track that Tim DeLaughter was losing faith in during a jamming session. In short buy this album, but if you want to save your money wait until August when it will be released in the UK
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on 6 July 2007
The Polyphonic Spree's 2002 debut coincided with a period of new respect for over-sized band line-ups, from Broken Social Scene through Arcade Fire and Architecture in Helsinki. Since then, the Spree have made two wonderfully euphoric albums and have become an amazing live experience. What they have lacked, though, is any sort of substance.

Until now.

To revitalise their pursuit of joy-mongering, Tim DeLaughter and wife/co-leader Julie Doyle have pared their joyous horde down from 28 members to 24, switched the band uniform from robes to black combat garb, and made a return to the more compact pop songs of the debut album. The songs on The Fragile Army are rock songs embellished with horns and choir. On the previous albums the horns and choir were the songs.

The title track is an anti-Bush Bohemian Rhapsody, while Section 29 [Light To Follow], which establishes the record's over-arching subject - "love in a mixed-up time" - explores new sounds for the group, from electronic beats to an Air-like bass groove, achieving a spacey ambiance.

Section 31 [Overblow Your Nest] is one of DeLaughter's more emotionally sophisticated songs and also an existential assertion of self, "I want this world to know that I'm alive," he cries on the surging chorus. It's an individualistic mantra that's at odds with Spree's egoless concept - many voices joining as one to accomplish any goal, overturn any war monger. More familiar are his Wayne Coyne-esque claims of "together we're all right" on Section 25 [Younger Yesterday] and "when we're both together, I know that we'll be just fine" on Section 26 [We Crawl].

While the emergent first single Section 22 [Running Away] is thrilling, it's Section 30 [Watch Us Explode (Justify)] that is the most comprehensive demonstration of what the Spree can do, with its trilling flutes, imperial horns, bombastic strings and fleet-fingered guitar fills.

The Fragile Army is an all-out orchestral and choral assault of optimism, and while it be the stop-start riff of Section 23 [Get Up And Go] or the clip-clop of 20-plus pairs of feet marching in time on Section 25 [Younger Yesterday] that gets you, rest assured you will succumb to this merry maelstrom that's triumphant from end-to-end.
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on 23 July 2007
I wasn't sure at first what to make of this third album. There were a few tracks I loved immediately - just what you'd expect - but the remainder of the album failed to impress. However, after a few listens I began to appreciate the whole album. It's a little more dark than the previous two which probably caught me off guard and may catch you too, but don't worry, listen again tomorrow and you'll love it. The Spree are definitely on form!
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on 6 July 2007
The Polyphonic Spree's 2002 debut coincided with a period of new respect for over-sized band line-ups, from Broken Social Scene through Arcade Fire and Architecture in Helsinki. Since then, the Spree have made two wonderfully euphoric albums and have become an amazing live experience. What they have lacked, though, is any sort of substance.

Until now.

To revitalise their pursuit of joy-mongering, Tim DeLaughter and wife/co-leader Julie Doyle have pared their joyous horde down from 28 members to 24, switched the band uniform from robes to black combat garb, and made a return to the more compact pop songs of the debut album. The songs on The Fragile Army are rock songs embellished with horns and choir. On the previous albums the horns and choir were the songs.

The title track is an anti-Bush Bohemian Rhapsody, while Section 29 [Light To Follow], which establishes the record's over-arching subject - "love in a mixed-up time" - explores new sounds for the group, from electronic beats to an Air-like bass groove, achieving a spacey ambiance.

Section 31 [Overblow Your Nest] is one of DeLaughter's more emotionally sophisticated songs and also an existential assertion of self, "I want this world to know that I'm alive," he cries on the surging chorus. It's an individualistic mantra that's at odds with Spree's egoless concept - many voices joining as one to accomplish any goal, overturn any war monger. More familiar are his Wayne Coyne-esque claims of "together we're all right" on Section 25 [Younger Yesterday] and "when we're both together, I know that we'll be just fine" on Section 26 [We Crawl].

While the emergent first single Section 22 [Running Away] is thrilling, it's Section 30 [Watch Us Explode (Justify)] that is the most comprehensive demonstration of what the Spree can do, with its trilling flutes, imperial horns, bombastic strings and fleet-fingered guitar fills.

The Fragile Army is an all-out orchestral and choral assault of optimism, and while it be the stop-start riff of Section 23 [Get Up And Go] or the clip-clop of 20-plus pairs of feet marching in time on Section 25 [Younger Yesterday] that gets you, rest assured you will succumb to this merry maelstrom that's triumphant from end-to-end.
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on 20 February 2008
I've been a fan of this band since their begining and this new album definitley didn't dissapoint.If you get this version with the DVD you will see just how much work went into the production (they even sampled a tap dancer and typewriter!) It's just so hard to put into words just how good this album is because its more of a 'feeling' you get from listening rather than just good tunes...check out track 7. I got goosepimples! However there is one teeny tiny thing and that is the cover version of Nirvana's Lithium which is like pulling teeth. It is awful but then thats just my opinion because i generally don't like covers but you might. Thats why it still gets 5 stars. Can't wait to see 'em on tour!
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on 19 September 2007
i too was not too sure about it on first listen, the songs seem a little darker and the drumming is a lot heavier, but i love it now and its by far my most favourite spree album so far, they keep getting better and better, the rockier songs sound like a mish mash of bowie and jesus christ superstar. i really insist that you see them live as its the most uplifting few hours you'll ever experiece and you'll leave with the biggest smile, no ego's here every twenty odd of them take centre stage and its not like a gig its like one MASSIVE party. touring over here must be a nightmare for them and must cost the earth so they don't do it as often as i'd like so if you get the chance GO. amazing
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on 12 September 2007
While not quite as stunning as Together We're Heavy this is an impressive third album. The Spree have trimmed the songs down to a more digestable length and they are more rock orientated (driven by drums, bass and guitar). That said they still make room for all the other instruments and voices which compliment brilliantly. Running Away is an excellent opener. I also love Younger Yesterday and We Crawl. There are a couple of tracks that are weaker and let the album down slightly in my opinion but overall its a success and very emotive. Recommended.
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on 16 August 2007
A less easy album to get into than their previous offerings but more rewarding, I think, when the effort is made - the songs are darker and more spikey this time around but with a richness and depth that shows the Spree are growing and developing as a band as their music grows with them. Stick with it and you'll be lavishly rewarded.
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on 21 July 2014
Underated album which will grow on you. More intense and heavier in places than it's predecessors.
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