To say Tim Delaughter, lead singer of the Polyphonic Spree, has had an enriched music career would be a gross understatement. He's fronted two huge Dallas-based bands, recorded more than eight full-length albums, composed movie soundtracks and toured extensively for almost 24 years.
But Dallas native Delaughter comes full circle this weekend with Polyphonic Spree's visit to Club Dada on Saturday, where he'll be playing at the Deep Ellum mainstay for the first time since starting his career over two decades ago. Back in 1990, he was digging his heels in the Dallas scene with Tripping Daisy for his first-ever show.
The Polyphonic Spree, boasting a 14-year veteran status, is most immediately recognizable by their sheer number of band members. The current lineup features a 20 musician mixture of choir singers and a nearly orchestral instrumental section. Over the years, 46 different members have come and gone, but the band's grandeur and liveliness has never faltered.
In live shows, Delaughter said the band aims to make the experience inclusive of the audience in order to create a homogenous environment, blurring the line between performer and audience. "You feel like you're kind of part of the show," he says. "It's real engaging. I love it."
Delaughter says Dallas was the perfect place for the band to have taken shape because it had always felt like home and welcomed what the Polyphonic Spree were doing.
"I think it was good for me because, shit, I felt comfortable with the town," he says. "The musical landscape in Dallas has always been really great. The fans that support local music in Dallas have always been great."
Beyond their four studio albums and Christmas album, the Polyphonic Spree also worked with director Mike Mills to create the soundtrack for his 2005 movie Thumbsucker. Delaughter said writing for the soundtrack was similar to the band's records because he was still able to tell stories with songs, just with a more defined vision. In writing, he had to make sure that the songs were, in his own words, "Good, and not stupid."
"I thought it was fantastic to just get the opportunity to do something like that," Delaughter says of the experience.
On their 2013 album Yes, It's True, Polyphonic Spree is simultaneously intimate and dance-friendly. Although the individual tracks feel cohesive as a whole, the songs were actually written over an extended five-year period.
"It's a really broad record. It's cohesive but the songs are all over the place, but it works as a whole album," Delaughter says. "It was kind of a happy accident."
In fact, Delaughter claims Yes, It's True is absolutely one of his favorites because it was the product of exploring new directions to take the band. He said the album ended up being more electronic and more personal in the content of songs, something he said he's never quite put out there before.
Among Polyphonic Spree's expansive alumni is fellow former Dallasite Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, future queen of the Death Star. She came into the fold around 2002, when the Polyphonic Spree was auditioning a few more musicians before embarking on a European festival tour.
"I knew she was going to go on to do something," Delaughter says. "She's a phenomenal guitar player. I'll see her from time to time if we're playing a festival."
Beyond coming back to Dada specifically, Delaughter said returning to their hometown stirs up sentiment for the Polyphonic Spree.
"It's a hometown show, so you've definitely got fans and a lot of history because of Polyphonic Spree and Tripping Daisy," he says. "It's always good to be back home playing for a homecrowd."
"They're going to have their minds blown," Delaughter adds. "We're going to give them a psychedelic journey that's going to leave a big freaking smile on their face."
THE POLYPHONIC SPREE play with Sam Lao and Quaker City Nighthawks at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 12 at Club Dada, $22-26
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