Fortress is the lightest, airiest piece of pop I've heard all year. At its worst, it makes me think of nothing more than fluffy, nutritionless marshmallows -- the single "Bullfighter Jacket" has a grating chorus that goes like this: "ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya." The much-hyped Neon Indian-produced "Gold Skull" is actually another annoying song, composed of synth squiggles and a weak chorus. "Dark Tower" starts out pretty, with gentle piano chords and plucked guitar strings, but ultimately it floats too high, and that's the problem with too many songs on this record -- they drift lazily, failing to solidify into anything substantive or anything to get excited about.
All's not lost though -- at its best moments, certain standouts recall the soft but lively storytelling style of Harry Nilsson. "Rock & Roll Mountain Troll" begins with the delightfully evocative line, "Stoned at 3am and talking to myself in public," before breaking into a rousing drumbeat and rapid, tongue-twisting chorus. It's a great pop song that wouldn't feel out of place on The Point! Ditto for the easy trot of "Egyptian Robe," where frontman Charlie Brand's vocals finally sound sweet instead of effete. I wince to hear Miniature Tigers being compared to a band as evolved and matured as Grizzly Bear, but there's definitely promise to be picked out of this record.