The Beginning Stages Of... - The Polyphonic Spree

Universal acclaim - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. So contagious is their enthusiasm, you could start thinking that black-clad nihilism has kept music to itself for way too long.
  2. The good news is that The Polyphonic Spree still make sense stripped of all visual gimmicks.
  3. 90
    This record sounds like nothing else in your collection. [Oct 2003, p.84]
  4. The sheer joy of their music is undeniably persuasive, evoking the otherworldly brilliance of everything from Pet Sounds to The Soft Bulletin.
  5. One listen, and you'll be hooked on the happiness.
  6. There's the humanist warmth and simple joy that you hear in The Beach Boys or The Flaming Lips at their best. [Nov 2002, p.114]
  7. Though he could stand to loosen the reins and let his sidemen push the songs into more adventurous territory, DeLaughter has at least figured out how to create a dramatic effect.
  8. Depending on your partiality for mid-’70s macramé culture, this is either a gift from the gods or the worst thing that could possibly happen to pop culture since bellbottoms made a comeback.
  9. Somehow The Polyphonic Spree have managed to make a record that actually is simple, joyous, and spiritually uplifting.
  10. 70
    Their pop peaks sound like an ecstatic communion of Mercury Rev, ELO and the cast of Hair. [Oct 2002, p.110]
  11. This sloppy but spirited congregation may well end up as an alt-rock novelty, but more disciplined souls might want to follow the way that The Beginning Stages of . . . suggests.
  12. While the upbeat message is laudable, the entire exercise could prove overly precious, not to mention repetitive, if not for a few tunes that help add much needed variety.
  13. The more anthemic crowd-pleasing numbers littered throughout The Beginning Stages of the Polyphonic Spree boast such endlessly repeated refrains as "Hey/ It's the Sun/ And it makes me Shine," which lose a lot of their appeal when taken out of their natural habitat (the live setting) and placed between your headphones.

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