Miracle Fortress + The Joy Formidable
The Luminaire, 4th April 2008
Remember when indie girls cut their hair into shiny faux-punk bobs and wore chokers and tank tops and diluted all the venom and feminism and balls out of riot grrrl, leaving you with three minutes of peppy but vacant drivel for drive time local radio? You remember Republica? Yeah, well, there’s this band called The Joy Formidable, and for them it’s still 1998. Making no attempt to disguise a greedy suckling from the teat of their fellow Welshmen’s milky powerpop (think Feeder and Catatonia), their frontwoman has aforementioned faux-punk bob and is allegedly called Ritzy. Next!
Miracle Fortress have been creating, if not an overwhelming fizz of hype, then certainly a gentle bubble of interest among discerning music fans fond of ‘that Montreal sound.’ North America is producing such bloody weird indie right now – like Desert Island Discs, they’re at once tropical and otherworldly, and so very, very necessary. MF do that expansive, fusion sound brilliantly, but without the smug sheen of manipulative chord modulations that the Arcade Fire did so crassly on Neon Bible. With a certain DIY shabbiness (or maybe they just haven’t played much yet), every song is a melting pot of dark 80s indie pop, mucky shoegaze and chirpy battling guitars. It’s all super-fresh and nearly cute (but not quite, don’t worry), and their guitarist looks like either a) a mermaid, with saltwater perm and seashell earrings, or b) Becky, the babysitter you had in 1994 who let you stay up late and used your home phone to call her boyfriend. And there was a John Cale cover at the end. John Cale! Unlucky for you they won’t be back in the