Brand X Media
Geoff Berner is one of the greatest song writers I know of too date. He often comes off as a smart-ass and a cynic, but once you listen to his words and music, the sardonic tone and observant eye go hand in hand with the music that carries his stories. His storytelling is sharp and scathing, but balanced with sincerity, compassion and empathy. It astounds me that someone can write with such sharp observations of various human-conditions and still sing from the heart. Though this can easily apply to his first release ‘Light Enough To Travel’, it becomes exponentially more clear while listening to the songs on this album, assisted by the fact that through the course of ten songs he jumps from songs about the prostitution food chain (“The Twenty dollar whores look down their noses at the ten dollar whores who look down their noses at the five dollar whores who look down on the volunteers”) to songs about bad war tactics of the French in ‘Maginot Line’ (“why didn't’ some smart fella say; your guns are facing the wrong way”) to the token tragic love story of ‘Clown & Bard, in which upon his return, the object of his affection becomes a half dead speed addict (“when I got back to town she wasn't’t hard to track down, though they moved her down a couple of stairs, cold and half dead on an unmade bed, trying to squeeze the speed out of her pores”). Though a couple of the songs seem misplaced, and seem to be pure novelty such as ‘Porn Star Girlfriend’, in which Mr. Berner attempts to make his accordion sound “funky”, but I’m sorry to say that I don’t think anybody can make an accordion sound funky. Though the humour of the song is worth a listen, it does tend to wear thin quite quickly. Altogether the album deserves a listen, some contemplation, and respect for its ingenuity, and intelligence. Geoff Berner is one of a kind, and nowadays that’s worth something in itself.
- Jesse Ladret