The Polyphonic Spree
So, I come home after a few pints of Young’s and Rogue Chocolate Stout. I’m flipping channels, and I come across The Polyphonic Spree on Austin City Limits. I have one of their albums on my computer somewhere. I’ll admit there’s something about them that sort of gravitates me to their sound. I think it’s primarily their ability to exploit an aspect of sound that no one’s really explored since the Beatles. They have that orchestral sound behind them with a cacophony of vocals (think “All You Need is Love” and mix it with that mid 70’s Coca-Cola commercial where all the hippies are singing on that hill about smiles and world peace.)
But, I’ve never actually seen them, and as I’m watching them for the first time, there’s something strangely contagious about them. I can’t stop watching them. If you haven’t seen them, seriously, take all those people from that old Coca-Cola commercial, make them all white and somewhat talented, and dress them in solid bed sheets of various colors. That’s more or less Polyphonic Spree on stage.
Once I realized that, something occurs to me: they’re a fucking cult.
This, in and of itself, doesn’t make them attractive. However, I just spent the last few hours at the pub, and now I’m watching these people. I can’t help thinking these people can’t be getting paid much. There’s like 30 of them. Why pay them as much per person as you would a band with four or five people? So, they’re making the same blanket sum as say, The Thrills. That’s change in per capita gig money. If they’re not making much, they’re all probably traveling in a Partridge Family bus and eating bean curd. So what would be the appeal to being in this band? Bed sheets? Fun for a few minutes, but that’s about it. Are they all brainwashed? Maybe. I didn’t know brainwashed people could play trumpets and flutes, but I guess it’s possible.
Then the alpha-male in me realizes it. After a show, add a few tabs of white blotter, and you got yourself an old fashioned hippie orgy. There are at least 15 chicks in this group, most of which are extremely fuckable. Put these people on a road trip, and you’re basically just singing and fucking all the time. It rationalizes being a hippie, and you don’t have to join a drum circle and let your hair look like you washed it in the toilet to make people leave you alone. And you have random sex with one of 30 people on any given night. “I balled Amanda and Star at Red Rocks last night. I think I’ll play a little Mario Bros and then nail Big Rhonda after the Tucson gig tonight.” I can think of worse ways to spend your twenties.
Don’t get me wrong. This is still a fad band. At least I hope so, because in ten or twenty years, all of these people are going to be heavy, hairy, and gross. Imagine a convention of anthropology professors. All the bed linen in the world won’t hide that kind of repulsive swarthiness. So, I recommend after a few more years, if the novelty doesn’t end this for them, they should all quit and become the accountants and soccer moms they were destined to be.
Until then, I’m going to envy the fact that some other alpha-male had the brains to hit a trendy college, score a bunch of pseudo-hippies and form a cult that pretended to be a band to get fame and nookie.