Sound — 7
Chris Cho of The Morning Benders found a kindred spirit in vocalist/guitarist Charlie Brand, the frontman of the avant pop outfit Miniature Tigers whose latest recording Fortress from Modern Art Records/ILG is produced by Cho with the exception of the track Gold Skull which is produced by Neon Indian. The pop quartet which also comprises of keyboardist/vocalist Rick Schaier, drummer/multi-instrumentalist Algernon Quashie, and bassist Alex Gerber shows a folk-pop temperament relatable to The Decemberist shrouded in feathery wisps liken to Son Volt. Bent on retro rock beadings reflective of 60s soft pop, Rock n' Roll Mountain Troll is draped in Beatlesque type motifs, and Bullfight Jacket is wedged in a frolicking rhythm reminiscent of vintage 60s pop. The folksy pop strokes of Egyptian Robe are carriaged by a trotting tempo, and the gently billowy riffs of the guitar in Tropical Birds is cobbled with Indian accents propped by the shivering chimes of the tambourines giving the tune a gypsy feel. Dark Tower was the most hypnotic track on the album coated in dewy sonic droplets and misty riffage that brushes lightly across Brand's vocals.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics shift from sounding profound to having a blatant meaning like in Dark Tower where Brand implores, Don't say it's the end / I could not take it / Do you love me still? The symbolism behind Tropical Bird is open to interpretation with verses that resound, Tropical birds love to get away / You want to keep them, but they never want to stay / Little creatures, innocent and free.
Overall Impression — 7
Miniature Tigers write songs for their generation making Fortress a product of the times and show a penchant for folk pop melodies with an avant tint. The track which leaves a lasting residue on the mind is the hypnotic swagger of Dark Tower, although many of the other tracks have a familiar coloring that could bode well with audiences.