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Music

Miracle Fortress + Shapes and Sizes CD Launch

Posted by MP / May 17, 2007

20070517_miracle_fortress-1.jpgWhen traveling past almost every official venue in the city to reach an illegal loft show on the outskirts of town, it should feel somewhat special, but instead, Wednesday’s relentless rain and wind made the trip a nuisance. It kept me wondering – was anyone else crazy enough to journey down to Friendship Cove in Griffintown tonight?

The bill offered a double album launch from Miracle Fortress and freshly imported Shapes and Sizes (originally from Vancouver). With their combined efforts, I knew it would be worth the trip through bad weather to see the new material performed live.

Upon arriving, I found 70 other like minded people hidden inside Friendship Cove. Most were probably friends of either band, or one of the many roommates that pay for the creative space.

To start the show, Graham Van Pelt of Miracle Fortress got on stage, or in this case the corner, and said almost nothing before strumming his guitar into a sampler and creating a whole song around it. The last time I saw Graham perform by himself it was a stressful solo event that he played before double-dipping the evening with his other project, Think About Life. But for this gig, he had recruited some of Montreal’s best to mimic the sound laid down for his newest album, Five Roses.

Like Unicorns vs. Islands, Five Roses is distinctly different from the party annihilation Think About Life theme. It’s polished studio rock that mixes a late sixties Beach Boys pop with the major chord bliss of Manitoba. Instantly likable and progressively charming, this is an album Graham’s parents should be proud of. Myspace.com was so impressed, they let him upload the entire album and splashed the MF profile as an exclusive across their front page.

Once Graham finished two solo tracks, he was joined by three more musicians to recreate a bit of Five Roses. Together, they had only performed as Miracle Fortress four times – and one of those at SXSW. Like the solo show, they played around the sampler which unfortunately got lost in the mix. Three songs and one quick encore later, they were done even before they got a chance to get comfortable.

To prepare for Shapes and Sizes, I listened to their new 'Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner' CD on repeat. It’s a daring assemblage of variety that enjoys breaking apart and turning inside out to then find a way home – like an upbeat Fiery Furnaces with a dash of subdued Deerhoof. Testing its listener’s patience at times, the album’s later half goes into lengthy indulgences that distance it from pop but reinforce the animated climaxes.

By the time I reached Friendship Cove, I had already concluded that Shapes and Sizes demanded the full attention only a live show could muster. After the first few minutes playing, their two years of extensive touring was evident. The second track, Highlife, won me over and I quickly realized Talia’s voice was Shapes and Size's best asset. Listen to Alone/Alive if you don’t believe me. Unfortunately, the motionless audience wasn’t reciprocating and freely yapped during the rest of the set which didn’t help during the quiet moments. Accordingly, the band flashed through the rest of their songs and left without the hint of an encore – Montreal crowds can be unforgiving.

Shapes and Sizes-Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner out now (Asthmatic Kitty Records)
Miracle Fortress - Five Roses out May 22nd (Secret City)

Discussion

11 Comments

Leif Parker / July 31, 2007 at 12:54 am
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(originally from Vancouver)?!?
Where's the hometown pride?

Hey Rich!
Shapes and Sizes are Victoria-born and bred. Caila (the lead singer), is a good friend of Sam and I. We worked at Pic-A-Flic together, and she's super nice.
It's cool they made the jump to Montréal, cuz I think Vancouver wasn't quite right.

How are you?
I think I'll write you an email
to be more personable-like.

ttys
LEIF!
Leif Parker / July 31, 2007 at 01:00 am
user-pic
(originally from Vancouver)?!?
Where's the hometown pride?

Hey Rich!
Shapes and Sizes are Victoria-born and bred. Caila (the lead singer), is a good friend of Sam and I. We worked at Pic-A-Flic together, and she's super nice.
It's cool they made the jump to Montréal, cuz I think Vancouver wasn't quite right.

How are you?
I think I'll write you an email
to be more personable-like.

ttys
LEIF!
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