Graham Van Pelt
About Graham Van Pelt
Canadian musician Graham Van Pelt rose to national acclaim in 2007 with the release of Five Roses, the debut album from his solo project Miracle Fortress, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Prize. Also a member of the Montreal-based dance-rock band Think About Life, he remained active in both projects, later exploring more electronic-based pop on Miracle Fortress' 2011 release while moonlighting as the club-oriented Inside Touch. After moving to Toronto, he released 2018's Time Travel, his first album recorded under his given name.
Van Pelt cut his teeth in the mid-2000s as an engineer and collaborator around Montreal's indie scene, forming the experimental dance-rock band Think About Life, with drummer Matt Shane and singer Martin Cesar, in 2005. Around this same time, he launched the exploratory pop project Miracle Fortress, releasing their first EP, Watery Grave, that winter. Think About Life's debut album appeared in 2006, followed a year later by Miracle Fortress' critically acclaimed full-length Five Roses, which was shortlisted for the 2007 Polaris Prize alongside acts like Arcade Fire and Patrick Watson. Over the next few years, Van Pelt continued to manage both projects, touring with Think About Life following the release of their 2009 sophomore album, Family, then resuming his Miracle Fortress output for the Secret City label. With 2011's Was I the Wave?, he began to veer into more electronic-based pop and was again in the running for the Polaris Prize.
By 2014, Think About Life had faded out, Miracle Fortress had issued just a handful of singles, and Van Pelt had launched a new instrumental project called Inside Touch, which appealed to his increasing interest in dance and club music. He relocated from Montreal to Toronto and began streamlining his work, dropping his various aliases and recording more spartan, synth-based music under his given name. Writing in a more thoughtful introspective style, Van Pelt recorded a set of songs whose genesis all stemmed from a vintage Roland SH-101 synth. Time Travel, his first proper solo album as Graham Van Pelt, was released in late 2018. ~ Timothy Monger