The Shiny Happy Spree

Hal Samples
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By now you likely know the Polyphonc Spree's third full-lengther, The Fragile Army, is due out in June on TVT records. You can hear a bit of it on the band's Web site; the song's called "Section 22 (Running Away)," if you're in need of some specifics. First impressions: Jesus Christ, that's a lot of sound.

But if you're a Spree fan and in need of an immediate top-o'-the-pops fix, look no further than the blog Hi-Fi Popcorn, which has rescued from this podcast full of odds and sods a heretofore forgotten gem in its entirety: The P. Spree's damned near note-for-note version of R.E.M.'s "Shiny Happy People." And just where do it come from?

Well, the cover comes from the unlikely-to-ever-be-released soundtrack to last year's indie pic Keeping Up with the Steins starring Jeremy Piven. The band originally recorded it for an entirely different movie: 2005's Lucky 13, starring Lauren Graham. That one went straight to DVD and airplanes.

Wrote Julie Doyle on the band's blog way back when: "Yes, yes we know...how perfect to have polyphonic sing about shiny, happy people! the original idea was to really strip it down and do an acoustic version at a much slower tempo but...in the end, we stayed true to the track although it only features tim, mark, bryan, audrey, annie and jennifer from the band." So it's not the whole band, see, just a few folks -- including Annie, which is to say Annie Clark, which is to say St. Vincent, whose tour EP can be bought at Good Records in advance of the summer release of her Beggars Banquet full-length. --Robert Wilonsky

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


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