Review of One Sided Story (Chrysalis/MCA)

by Kerry Doole, Sound & Vision (Toronto), June 1990

Performance: 8
Sound Quality: 8

Not since the heyday of Rough Trade has a hip Canadian band been so obsessed with sex as The Pursuit of Happiness. While Carole and Kev probed the darker side of lust (though oft with tongues in cheeks), Moe Berg and Co. bring a much lighter, happier tone to matters of the heart and flesh. Their superb debut LP, Love Junk, marked TPOH as real power pop/rock contenders whose charms were better appreciated in Europe and the US than here; their exclusion from any Juno nominations was scandalous.

Their second album, One Sided Story, was again produced by Todd Rundgren, clearly one of singer/songwriter Berg's heroes. A song like "Survival" is too Todd-like for comfort, and the band would be well-advised to move elsewhere next time out. That's the only real reservation here. Berg's spirited vocals and guitar work are nicely enhanced by a no-frills rhythm section and female backing vocals, and his hook-filled songs again offer plenty of naughty fun.

On his first hit, "I'm An Adult Now," Berg pledged to write songs about women, not girls, but most of the songs here do, in true pop tradition, sing the praises of girls. The first song, "Food," is a hilariously lewd comparison of his lover to various food forms - "Your love is like greasy fried noodles, instantly gratifying, makes me want to come back for more." The next song, "Two Girls In One," accurately nails the modern girl - "Sensitive and vulnerable, that's the kind she like best, but he's got to have muscles and lots of hair on his chest." Just occasionally, Moe's gaze is averted from the groin; "Little Platoons (My Neighborhood)" being an evocative depiction of his decaying home area.

Their pop vision may be one-sided, but Canadian music is indeed invigorated by The Pursuit of Happiness.

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