This unflaggingly sunny Texan aggregation -- which weighs in at upwards of two dozen members -- come across like some sort of bizarro-world hybrid of the Flaming Lips
and Up with People, what with their sweetly sewn tapestries of choral vocals and breezy orchestrations. Leader Tim DeLaughter has come a long way since his days fronting Tripping Daisy
, in both his writing -- which is buoyant enough to stir images of the Summer of Love -- and his sheer presence -- something of a cross between orchestra conductor and happy-face cult leader. This reissue of the Spree's rave-eliciting indie bow reprises all ten untitled "stages" of the single-minded, but not altogether similarly colored, piece that appeared on the original. It also appends four bonus tracks, including a pair of live radio session cuts ("Have a Day" and "It's the Sun") that prove the band can deliver the goods without hiding behind the studio walls. While none of the four added songs are actually new -- they're re-recorded and, thankfully, titled takes on existing "stages" -- each bears a personality that's subtly different than its fraternal twin. Crisp and clean, The Beginning Stages of the Polyphonic Spree
signals that it's definitely gonna be a sunshine day.