Review of One Sided Story (Chrysalis/MCA)

Sounds (UK), June 2, 1990

(contributed by Andy Gardner)

**** (4 stars)

One Sided Story is a spirited follow-up to last year's highly praised debut, Love Junk. Once again, TPOH have produced a high quality collection of rock guitar riffs, luscious vocal harmonies and idiosyncratic songwriting.

And once again Todd Rundgren sits in the producer's chair and achieves the correct balance between the upfront guitar riffing of the beefier songs and tuneful swing of the more melodic numbers. In these three minute bursts they combine hedonistic enjoyment of a simple guitar riff with Leslie Stanwyck's layered backing vocals and end up sounding like the B-52's having taken a heavy dose of Guns'n'Roses.

While there's nothing here with the immediacy of, say, 'I'm An Adult Now', 'Two Girls In One' comes close, with an off the wall guitar solo and a turbo-drive rhythm section. On the softer side, 'New Language' may be too close a cousin of Love Junk's 'She's So Young' for comfort but it is, nonetheless, a well crafted pop song and will no doubt have them joining the posse in droves across the Atlantic.

Moe Berg's songs are the work of a voyeur, combining witty observation with a self-depreciating humour. Side One closes with 'Shave Your Legs' and ties in nicely with side two's opener, 'Runs In the Family', which opens with, "Paula's sister has legs as long as hers" and uses an amphetamine-propelled approximation of a Stones riff to prompt its eponymous refrain. Superficially, these might sound like the word of a confirmed misogynist but Berg constructs his song along the lines of a Woody Allen character without the middle-age spread. The only disappointment is the closing 'Survival' probably because it is the only real attempt at first person narrative and suffers from some irrelevant twiddly saxophone bits.

Anyone following Sounds' Appetites For Construction series will know that since recording this album vocalist Leslie has left the band along with bassist John Sinclair.

One Sided Story is a successful enough conclusion to TPOH's opening chapter. The album opens with the line "Your love is like greasy friend noodles / Constantly gratifying...makes me want to come back for more". It's an appropriate description of the band themselves. The Pursuit of Happiness, Grease on!

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