After the tragic death of Tripping Daisy guitarist Wes Berggren, Tim DeLaughter started the seeders of joy known as the Polyphonic Spree. Resembling Jesus and his apostolic posse, the white-robed band spread their brand of orchestral chamber pop while praising such luminous beings as the sun, God and the environment. Not to say singing about positivity means you’re above making money — Polyphonic Spree’s 2003 anthem “Light & Day” soundtracked commercials for Volkswagen and Apple, and it was featured in the documentary Murderball (a feel-good story about the wheelchair rugby scene). They even wrote the theme song for MLS squad FC Dallas, suitably titled “H-O-O-P-S Yes!” The band reached a high point in 2005 when they opened for David Bowie, but the Spree have been quiet since their last move, writing the theme song to The United States Of Tara in 2009.
But now it’s 2011, and the Polyphonic Spree are updating their touchy-feely vibe with a new song meant to be touched and felt. Today they released their new single “Bullseye” via an interactive iOS app available on iTunes for $1.99. Made in collaboration with Moonbot Studios, the app places the user at the helm of an interactive story inside a barren neon world, guided by a sentimental guitar riff and DeLaughter’s ever-encouraging lyrics. As a lonely stick-blob hops with his head down, the landscape begins flourishing with every touch of the screen. Where our protagonist ends up is a mystery (but we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise for you anyway).
Maybe the app is an attention-grabbing gimmick by the band, who are hoping for some buzz around their new, still-untitled album. Or maybe this app is part of a fully developed artistic concept that’s much deeper than its silly, charming surface. Truth is, Polyphonic Spree’s been straddling that border all along. [Download "Bullseye" here.]