Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Pursuit Of Happiness

Power pop from Canada?  You don't say eh?

Actually Moe Berg and the jolly ranchers known as The Pursuit Of Happiness had a great debut back in 1988 with Love Junk with tongue in cheek songs like I'm An Adult Now and Looking For Girls.  Love Junk, produced by Todd Rundgren had them sound a lot like Utopia but with the female backing vocals of Kris Abbott and Leslie Stanwyck in tow, they compliment Moe Burg's world of sex and women.  The 13 songs don't vary much from your standard three chords and a straight ahead beat, but each song had their own different arrangement.  Nevertheless Love Junk remains their best.

One Sided Story, repeats the format and same producer and Burg continues to have his love sex blues with women.  Beginning with Food, which sounds cliched and Two Girls In One an uninspired followup to Adult. Some of the songs are even more crass (Shave Your Legs), as Berg comes across as a creepy nerd rocker who won't take no for an answer in his world of trying to pick up women and One Sided Story might have been deemed worthless if it wasn't for songs like All I Want or the return to Love Junk sound of filler tracks like Runs In The Family or Forbidden Fruit.  It's a better listen than the one and half star All Music guide rating but it is a Sophomore slump.

Nevertheless Chrysalis under new EMI ownership dropped TPOH and they found themselves on Mercury in 1993 with The Downward Road and perhaps their best known single Cigarette Dangles. By then Stanwyck left the band and Ed Stasium gave them a more metallic sound that contradicts the first two albums.  A better album than One Sided Story but the one two punch of Dangels and Nobody But Me, the album falls a bit short of inspiration and has about four songs too many.  Amazing how Stasium managed to get TPOH to sound like Living Colour on Nobody But Me.  Mercury wasn't interested in promoting this band and dropped them soon afterwards.

The next two releases were Canadian only issues and I never heard Where's The Bone, but The Wonderful World Of TPOH was a lackluster effort, not much to recommend it outside She's The Devil, the Moody Blues type of segmenting one song into the next forces the listener to hear below average power pop about sex and girls that most bands would have worked themselves out of 8 years into their career.  They never did break up, only releasing a song here and there up till a 2005 remake of When Doves Cry for a Canada best of.  When We Ruled contains both the 1988 and the 1986 version of I'm An Adult Now.  The Razor And Tie best of Sex And Food cherry picks cuts with live versions of Food and has a few b sides to offer (Let My People Go) but even that best of wasn't out very long.   In terms of theory, When We Ruled is the best overview of this band, but for myself the first three albums are their legacy and shows the good and bad side of Moe Berg.   But for Canada Power Pop, they were really pretty good when they got their act together.


Love Junk (Chrysalis 1988) A-
One Sided Story (Chrysalis 1990) B-
The Downward Road (Mercury 1993) B+
Where's The Bone (Iron 1995) B
The Wonderful Of TSOH (Iron 1996) C
Sex And Food-The Best Of TPOH (Razor And Tie 2000) B+
When We Ruled (EMI Canada 2005) B+

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Imagine my surprise when I found out that last month was the best month ever for the review consortium with 458 views.  Pretty damn good when I haven't posted much before putting up the Belly overview.  Of course I have reasons to believe it was inflated and probably less than half spent time here reading the archives. 

I really don't plan to post much in here, unless we get a repeat of last month's success.  Then I might post something new or off the wall.   For those who stopped by and read the post, thanks for reading. And be sure to check out the primary site Record World, where most of the action happens over there.