Miniature Tigers continue their run of fun but forgettable indie pop.

Miniature Tigers

Fortress

Released on Jul 27, 2010

5

The trouble for any emerging indie band with a penchant for chamber pop these days is that there’s not much on the market that hasn’t been done pretty damned well already. This said, Miniature Tigers’ 2008 debut LP Tell It To The Volcano was an entertaining slice of twee, but lacked the infectious quality needed to help elevate them above the fray of a hundred other bands doing the same thing. Even with the positive feedback on that record (they were a hit at the CMJ marathon that year and thus caught mild attention on the late-night music video circuit), it just wasn’t all that much of a standout. On Fortress, the same is still very true.  

There’s just not a lot on Fortress that sticks out even after listening through it for the first time. “Gold Skull” is an absolute dead ringer for Of Montreal, right down to frontman Charlie Brand’s vocals, which share that almost synthesized quality. On “Egyptian Robe” the band start off with a chamber-esque sound before expanding a little, but it feels like a missed opportunity to build to something bigger. Album closer “Coyote Enchantment” doesn’t fare all that well, as the odd chants of “coyote” over a noodling keyboard sound like a poor man’s Animal Collective, and I’m not the biggest fan of theirs in the world.  

This isn’t to say that the album doesn’t have its moments. Opener “Mansion of Misery”  is a definite highlight, as it starts off with a pop riff reminiscent of…well, it’s almost a rock critic blasphemy to use the B-word in an iffy album review, but that being said, Brand sounds strikingly like a certain knighted frontman, and the dreamy build to a climactic explosion of psychedelia is certainly on point. Also, for all the inherent lyrical silliness of “Rock & Roll Mountain Troll,” it’s a foot tapper for sure, and probably the most likely song off Fortress to wind up sticking in your mind. 

It’s not that Miniature Tigers are particularly untalented, as they’re a tight instrumental act and do some interesting things with arrangement to keep the listener on their toes. It’s just that there’s not really a single trait to their music yet that sets them apart or establishes them as a band to keep an eye on. The potential is there, so now, with a bit of popularity to build upon, let’s see what they do going forward. 


High Point

“Rock & Roll Mountain Troll,” both for having one of the best track titles in some time and for how simply fun it is.

Low Point

As mentioned above, there’s just not much to Fortress that’s memorable.

Posted by Dominick Mayer on Jul 27, 2010 @ 6:06 am

miniature tigers, fortress, review

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