The album kicks off with “Awe,” a number that starts with a soothing synth, which carries throughout the two and a half minute song. There’s a hint of piano and some minor feedback, which give it the vibe of a U2 track during their experimental phase during the ‘90s. Few vocals, just instruments, which would sound like something Brian Eno produced.
The pace picks up on “Tracers.” A dance beat on top of Euro-influenced synths make this a hipshaker. When Van Pelt finally introduces his voice over 90 seconds into the track, it adds an element or alt-pop that gives the song a complete sound. Again, the song sounds like something Eno would have produced and would be at home in a swanky London club where hipsters could bob their heads and dance.
“Raw Spectacle” is more anthemic, with a hint of “Enjoy The Silence” and late ‘80s Madchester sound. A catchy dance beat, interesting synths and an overall big sound shows that Van Pelt has a great sense of Euro-pop sensibility. A fast sound from the drum machine and clapping make this futuristic track standout.
The New Order-influenced tune “Spectre” would make the lads proud. The sound is like something off one of the legendary outfits’ later material, but is bouncy nonetheless. Van Pelt’s lyrics are more prominent here than they’ve been on any of the other tracks, which is a shame because his vocals are very good, in rhythm and are under-utilized throughout. He’s a good singer but the music doesn’t allow for him to shine like it does on here.
Overall, Miracle Fortress puts together a solid album of Euro-dance-pop. Van Pelt doesn’t suffer a sophomore slump, but in fact applies the lessons he’s learned from recording a proper first record and uses them here. Hopefully it won’t be another four years in between albums for this talented Canadian.The album will be released today on Secret City Records and check out the group’s website for more information.