Tim DeLaughter / The Polyphonic Spree


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The soundtrack to Mike Mills' debut film, Thumbsucker, was apparently an exercise in doubt and devotion. Elliott Smith had been asked to score the film as well as contribute a cover version or two for the film's original score. After Smith's death, Mills, deep in the editing process, was thrown into the depths: he lost a close friend as well as a collaborator. He kept the music Smith had written for Thumbsucker ("Basement on a Hill" and "Let's Get Lost") as well as the two covers he recorded (Big Star's "Thirteen" and Cat Stevens' "Trouble"). He hooked up with Tim DeLaughter and various members of his Polyphonic Spree, who composed and recorded an original score. The Spree's large, nearly chanted chorus vocals, which never stray far from the gentle pop psychedelic musical soundscapes, complement the film perfectly and add to its endearingly wonderful narrative, but also make a powerful emotional statement on their own as an album. From the orchestral orgiastic march of "The Crash," which serves as an intro, and the ballads like "Scream & Shout" and the haunting "The Green Lights," to the gloriously happy bombast of "Debate Montage" (which references DeLaughter's earlier band, Tripping Daisy) and the sweetly, innocently romantic "Skinny Dip," Polyphonic Spree encapsulates the sometimes mawkish, sometimes bewildered, yet always wide-eyed wonder of life in the process of being lived. That it so perfectly mirrors the film's protagonist, Justin, is a small miracle. That the music creates a feeling apart from celluloid and seems to create images from the ether is a triumph. And it should be added that Smith's songs add immeasurably to the overall feel and considerable depth of the score. For fans of DeLaughter and Polyphonic Spree, this will come as a welcome addition to their catalog. For those encountering the band through the movie, this score will be a treasure and perhaps even a revelation.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 0:55 Amazon
2 2:11 Amazon
3 0:43 Amazon
4 1:53 Amazon
5 1:02 Amazon
6 1:50 Amazon
7 0:30 Amazon
8 2:40 Amazon
9 0:30 Amazon
10 1:14 Amazon
11 3:05 Amazon
12 2:55 Amazon
13 2:22 Amazon
14 2:09 Amazon
15 2:13 Amazon
16 1:07 Amazon
17 2:25
18 1:32 Amazon
19 0:55 Amazon
20 1:01 Amazon
21 3:59 Amazon
22 30:22 Amazon
23 3:47 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick