The Polyphonic Spree's new Yes, It's True will probably surprise listeners, even if they have never heard the band before. The Polyphonic Spree is weird. One of the first things people will tell you about them is that they are not a cult, and the affirming, mass-harmonized songs on Yes, It's True recall the darker outcomes of psychedelia in a way that is simultaneously exhilarating and creepy. The final chorus of "Popular By Design" is backwards, for example. It made me want to lie down in a dry bathtub.
But what's really weird is that The Polyphonic Spree used to be even weirder. Yes, It's True is so pop-pitched that acknowledging it seems trivial. Not only do the songs have choruses—and those choruses are not simply chanted for the entirety of the song—but they also have snappy basslines. There's a drum set. The whole thing sounds like Matthew Sweet, albeit if Matthew Sweet got into some questionable drugs/belief systems.
Is that bad? Only if you were really attached to the weird niche music they made before this weird pop album. In that case, I may have identified the source of the cultiness. The rest of us can be glad The Polyphonic Spree sound different from other pop music, and even from themselves.
The Polyphonic Spree plays the Top Hat Tue., Aug. 13, at 8:30 PM. $20/$15 in advance at Rockin Rudy's, the Top Hat and tophatlounge.com.