The Polyphonic Spree released a new covers EP called We Hope It Finds You Well after six years away from the studio. Their versions show off lush neo-psychedelic arrangements of the original classics.
Formed in 2000, they released six studio albums and a film soundtrack for Thumbsucker while they were active. Their debut, The Beginning Stages of… is their most popular release, known for its choral/orchestral arrangements and a polarizing 36-minute drone track that closes the album off. 2004’s Together We’re Heavy, 2007’s The Fragile Army and 2013’s Yes, It’s True delivered many more songs known for being uplifting. Their last release was 2014’s Psychophonic, a remix album featuring remixes from artists like Miyamigo, Rachel Boyd and Candy Claws.
We Hope It Finds You Well starts out with a cover of the title track from Abba’s last album The Visitors (1981). The Polyphonic Spree replace Abba’s synth strings with a horn section and replace the chorus’ staccato keys with electric guitar. The tune lends to a psychedelic treatment with its slow droning intro on both versions and obvious Beatles influence in the vocal melody.
“Let ‘Em In” by Wings is mostly just texturally transformed, since the original is plenty lush and plenty psychedelic. Still, The Polyphonic Spree pay attention to the details and add plenty of guitar and backing vocal flourishes that distinguish it from Wings’ version.
Strings join the horns and keys on the cover of The Rolling Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow.” The song is made more gentle by the cleaner 2020 production and mixing. The Association’s “Never My Love” is likewise changed by the production, but The Polyphonic Spree added some horn section fills too.
This version of “The Porpoise Song” sees a played up focus on atmospheric organs and an orchestral buildup that are absent in The Monkees’ original, before The Polyphonic Spree change pace with the much more upbeat “Spirit of the Radio” by Rush. The energetic closer stays true enough to the original with some new textures, mainly Tim DeLaughter’s vocals being pretty different from Geddy Lee’s.
The Polyphonic Spree’s Bandcamp page was put up shortly before they released this new EP, with their back catalog uploaded on it. As a separate note, they played one show between releasing Psychophonic and We Hope It Finds You Well, at Buffalo Tree Festival in 2018, which was the debut of the half festival/half democratic party rally in Dallas, TX.