Rush’s ‘The Spirit of Radio’ Cover by the Polyphonic Spree Gets an Animated Performance Video
UPDATE: The Polyphonic Spree have now released a video of the band performing their Rush cover of "The Spirit of Radio" in the studio prior to the 2020 lockdown. The performance-based clip also has an animated look to it that you can see in the player at the bottom of this post.
Rush's music often sounds like the combined playing of 20 people, and in the case of a new cover of "The Spirit of Radio" from The Polyphonic Spree it actually is 20 people taking on the '80s rock classic.
For the uninitiated, The Polyphonic Spree emerged in the 2000s as a large collective of musicians led by former Tripping Daisy frontman Tim DeLaughter, often donning signature white choral robes and often exploring a more orchestral and choral sound with a number of wind and brass instruments factored into the mix. They scored their best known song with 2003's "Light and Day."
Now the group has stepped up with their first ever covers album titled Afflatus that includes the recently released cover of INXS' "Don't Change" along with fresh takes of songs from The Rolling Stones, ABBA, the Bee Gees and more. The artwork and track listing can be viewed at the bottom of this post.
Speaking of the decision to take on Rush's 1980 hit "The Spirit of Radio," DeLaughter states, "‘The Spirit of Radio’ actually goes back to high school. I covered it with my high school band, Regency, so for nostalgic reasons, we thought it would be fun to try it with the Spree.”
"The Spirit of Radio" was the lead single from Rush's 1980 album Permanent Waves. It became their first Top 30 single in Canada and hit No. 51 on the U.S. Hot 100. Though not a huge radio success, the track grew in popularity over the years and became one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trio's biggest songs.
“It was inevitable that the Spree would end up doing this,” adds DeLaughter of their covers collection. “We were asked to play a covers show at The Kessler Theater in Dallas and were ready to go, but with the shutdowns starting to happen around the country, we made the last-minute call not to perform. We had all been together for weeks rehearsing, so we decided to get the band together at our home studio and record the entire show live in one take, just to capture it. We knew it was probably going to be the last time we saw each other for a long time, and the next day, everything started to close.”
The Afflatus album was recorded live over one night at the band's home studio just prior to the 2020 pandemic lockdown. In addition to DeLaughter's vocals, you're hearing Leoncarlo Canlas (Violin), Paul Deemer (Trombone/Trumpet), Stephanie Dolph Pirro (Vocals), Constance Dolph (Vocals), Nick Earl (Guitar), Elizabeth Evans (Vocals), Ryan Fitzgerald (Guitar), Thaddeus Ford (Trumpet), Jason Garner (Drums), Jennifer Jobe Penn (Vocals), Jessica Jordan (Vocals), Mark Pirro (Bass), Brianne Sargent (Cello), Dylan Silvers (Acoustic Guitar), Mike St. Clair (Trombone/Trumpet), Heather Test (French Horn), Kelly Test (Percussion), Poppy Xander (Piano/Keyboards) and Natalie Young (Vocals).
Afflatus was a bit of a surprise release, announced earlier this week and arriving tomorrow (April 16). The group is working a new full-length album of original material slated for the fall.
The Polyphonic Spree, "The Spirit of Radio" (Rush Cover)
The Polyphonic Spree, Afflatus Artwork + Track Listing
1. Don't Change (INXS)
2. You Put My Love Out The Door (Daniel Johnston)
3. She's a Rainbow (The Rolling Stones)
4. Run To Me (Bee Gees)*
5. The Porpoise Song (The Monkees)*
6. Could It Be Magic (Barry Manilow)*
7. The Visitors (ABBA)
8. Let Em In (Wings)
9. Never My Love (The Association)
10. The Spirit of Radio (Rush)