Review of The Downward Road (Mercury/Polygram)

by Nicholas Jennings, Maclean's, April 12, 1993

review grade: A

Love, desire, lust, sex - Moe Berg sings about it all. And he does it with enough wit and intelligence that Rolling Stone called his Toronto band, The Pursuit of Happiness, a "thinking person's pop group". On its third album, The Downward Road, the Edmonton-born Berg continues to display his knack for turning the agony and the ecstasy of romance into catchy three-minute pop tunes.

But now, there is more agony than ecstasy: the guitars scream like chainsaws on a rampage, and Berg's vocals express the torment of someone's living hell. "Cigarette Dangles" describes a masochist's plea for pain from his lover, while "Crashing Down" is the hilarious inner dialogue of a self-hating drunk. But one of Berg's best lines occurs in a song written from a female perspective. "In Her Dreams", a raw, swirling composition about a troubled woman with a taste for "rough boys", tells of "Boozy kisses and hard scratchy faces/ Bruised and red from leather embraces".

It is a convincing tale, and proof that Berg has become one of pop's finest chroniclers of emotional wars.

Copyright © 1993 by Maclean Hunter Publishing Limited

The Downward Road