Review of The Wonderful World of The Pursuit of Happiness (Iron Music Group/BMG)

by Lisa Trainor, RPM, October 21, 1996

In the mid-'80's, an independent group of Toronto musicians released a quirky, sardonic pop song accompanied by an extremely low-budget video and eventually followed with a debut album. Several successful albums and videos later, The Pursuit of Happiness brings us The Wonderful World of..., their fifth release. The wonderful sense of humour that has endeared TPOH to many - and sold over a million records - is still very much present in this 13-track venture. But there are some new and refreshing twists. Having patented a unique, distinct sound, branded with Moe Berg's wry and witty lyrics is what has made TPOH shine through the alt/pop madding crowd. And with The Wonderful World..., TPOH has taken this staple and added to it with some creative studio cleverness. What stands out most on this record is the deliberate re-creation of an early-'60's pop sound. Songs like Metaphor, She Kiss Away and Tara's Theme hold on to that retro sound without sounding hopelessly trite (check out the random samplings of chainsaw, hammering and cartoon sounds on the latter). Despite the twist on the standard TPOH sound, fans of previous works should rest assured that the band hasn't let go of what made them a household name in the first place. Tara, a love song of sorts, is in true Moe Berg fashion with such ardent lyrics as "you're pretty, I guess." And The Truth, another bit of Berg's tongue-in-cheekiness, laments the demise of a relationship with "you're not smart enough for Shakespeare, but hip enough to think Merchant of Venice is racist...I hated you first." Having wanted to create a record that people will listen to from beginning to end, The Pursuit of Happiness have done precisely what they planned with The Wonderful World of...

1996 RPM Music Publications Ltd.

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