POLYPHONIC SPREE - Together We're Heavy (Good Records)
The Spree are back, with multi-coloured robes and a more progressive sound. Obviously this album would never have the impact of their debut, as that was just so unlike anything else that had gone before that it was in a class of its own. For this one Tim DeLaughter has come up with a set of songs which expand on what went before, and with a much bigger budget to play with he can now use a real orchestra if he wants to. 'Section 11 (A Long Day Continues/We Sound Amazed)' carries straight on from the mostly unlistenable 'Section 10 (A Long Day)' which ended that first album, but at least this time it has a tune - and a good one at that. 'Hold Me Now' could be this album's 'Soldier Girl', and should be a contender for a single release, while 'Diamonds/Devotion To Majesty' is the first sign of the supposed progressive side of the album, sounding like three different songs linked together, but still with that wonderfully uplifting feel. The minimal 'One Man Show' - mostly just piano, voice and theremin - precedes the epic 'Suitcase Calling', where the whole band build to an exhilarating climax. The most anticipated track, though, is the ten-minute extravaganza of 'When The Fool Becomes A King', and it is everything I had hoped it would be, even reprising 'It's The Sun' in the chorus. The album ends with the title track, whose sole lyric is 'Love' - and that says it all. If you didn't like 'The Beginning Stages Of…' then nothing on this one will change your mind, but if, like me, you found it a breath of fresh air in a stale world of turgid guitar rock then 'Together We're Heavy' shows that the band were no one-trick pony.