Review of One Sided Story (Chrysalis/MCA)

by Gavin Martin, in the "Respect Overdue" column of NME, August 14, 1999

(transcribed by Rob Winder )

Bookish, bespectacled Moe Berg was already 30 when when he crafted this second album by Canada's great lost cerebral pop band. A nerdish loner reborn on record as a droll confessor and devillish avenger, Berg came from a honourable line of musical misfits (one of whom, Todd Rundgren, produced this record) but remained a little too clever for the masses.

More fool Mr and Mrs Mass. Berg's songs, whether dealing in filthy lust ('Food'), schizophrenia ('Two Girls In One') or lechery ('The One Thing') possess an uncommon candour shining light on the darkest corners of pop's emotional psyche.

In keeping with Moe's ambition for TPOH to be a cross between "abba and AC/DC", 'One Sided Story' is a barrage of big, bright'n'dirty guitar riffs, glissando harmonies and shiny metallic melodies. But despite the title, it covers its sexual subject matter from every position possible - funny and angry, appalled and fascinated, menacing and besotted.

Gestural excess and coy postures are mined for full effect on the keening, preening 'New Language', the funny-sad 'Shave Your Legs' and the domineering 'Something Physical'. But, 'All I Want' and 'No Safe Place' unveil the unadorned and fretful heart of a lover who is trapped in uncertainty and turmoil.

Would the real Moe please stand up? No chance - immediately after this was released this band split into two. Moe's TPOH continued in several guises but never one as complete as the outfit that made 'One Sided Story'.

Copyright New Musical Express, IPC Magazines Ltd. 1999


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