[18] Miracle Fortress, ‘Let Me Be The 1’


“As it goes on, it gets better,” says Junior 2. “It’s nice, but it’s not doing much,” adds Junior. In their slightly disengaged style, both statements are spot-on in multiple ways.

‘Let Me Be The 1’ does build, from choppy shoved synths to easy nu-soul garage, passing through perfect pop and jazzy byways, until it gets somewhere that feels like it really matters; until you’re pleading alongside Graham Van Pelt who, even on his knees, has found some kind of euphoric high.

This Canadian one-man band (usually, anyway) is nice, but he doesn’t do much – not in cold, brittle commercial terms. Miracle Fortress’s debut album Five Roses was just about the best thing to happen in 2007, a near-dipless flow of warm, gorgeously harmonised classic pop that was followed too long after by Was I The Wave?, more of the same with the odd electronic gurgle to make it a little more 2011. This year Van Pelt’s just releasing singles that pack in everything he’s learned. He’s still not doing much, but it’s all so nice.

So listen up, everyone. If he’s not going to be the 1, let him be a 1 for a short while at least.

Miracle Fortress, ‘Miscalculations’

Miracle Fortress

In Rainbows and Sound Of Silver were all well and good, but the best album of 2007 was, of course, Miracle Fortress’s Five Roses. The Canadian Prince Rogers Nelson – as no one has called him until now – Graham Van Pelt did it all himself, lovingly concocting a modern Beach Boys album set to shimmering bucolia (you know what I mean, sounds like a heat-hazed summer meadow) with, improbably, a devastating hook in every song. It was almost too perfect to sell. So it didn’t.

Four long years later, only endured by playing Five Roses at least once a week, Van Pelt is back with a new album Was I The Wave? that looks set to make a mockery of Adele’s chart feats. It’s a rather more electronic affair that I’ll be reviewing for millions of pounds in the next day or so, and ‘Miscalculations’ is the killer single. Actually, ‘Raw Spectacle”s the single – or “free download”, to give it its accurate title – but Van Pelt should see sense soon enough. You see, it had Junior doing a spontaneous hula dance which, as we’ve seen over the last five years, is the interpretive equivalent of holding up a card marked ‘Hit’. And about as successful as Jukebox Jury predictions ever were too. Hit!