Thursday, May 31, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [adult]

Was I the Wave by Miracle Fortress
@ SPL : CD 13 / Mirac

Fans of indie music are well aware Stratford offers more to the music world than the bright pop charm of Justin Bieber. For a relatively small fish in the vast cultural ocean, we are uncommonly fabulous in many ways, and people do pay attention.
Local-born musician Graham Van Pelt is one of the reasons why. As the driving force behind Miracle Fortress, his dense, wall-of-sound approach to creating jangly, ethereal electropop has earned him a Polaris Prize nomination for each of his two records.
His second album, *Was I the Wave?* incorporates the same dense, orchestral Wilson-esque harmonies as Miracle Fortress’ debut, *Five Roses.* But, rather than getting stuck in a rut trying to create the same kind of *Pet Sounds* spell a second time around, he moves into territory more influenced by Brian Eno and other producers of 1980s glammy new wave.
Van Pelt’s superior mixing and production keep the 80s influences from feeling stale, updating chiming harmonies and driving drum machines with more complex rhythms and melodies that will feel familiar to fans of Caribou from back when he was still Manitoba. If I just lost you there, try the album anyway – as could be expected of an album that evokes Eno, it’s a proper, complete album, complex enough for music geeks to get excited about. But fans of pop music shouldn’t shy away because of that; it’s also pretty and accessible enough to make great, happy background music on a patio or on a long car ride. *Was I the Wave?* is the perfect summer album for anyone looking for lush, happy harmonies, a good beat, and a little more substance.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on May 31, 2012. Written by Shauna Thomas, Librarian. 

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