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Beriau, Robert: Selfishness- Source of War and Violence

The Canadian independent music scene seems to be on the upswing with many talented artists entering the fold and none more so than multi-instrumentalist Robert Beriau. His second release entitled Selfishness: Source Of War & Violence is a concept album dealing with the disparity between those people who have everything and those who have nothing. You know, it goes something like ten percent of the populace has ninety percent of the money, or something like that. You get the feeling that this is something that Mr. Beriau takes very seriously. Basically, people who have been blessed with good fortunate should lead by example and give something back. This is something which Beriau has decided to do since for every cd sold or downloaded, he will donate two dollars to charities fighting violence against women and helping homeless shelters, both worthwhile caused indeed. While his last album was an all instrumental affair, the new one contains vocals on half of the album's ten tracks. I must say at first I had a problem with his vocals but they have grown on me after a couple of listens. Robert has a very distinct voice that takes some getting used to. At times his singing is similar to Roger Waters not so much in tone but in style. However, I still prefer the instrumental tracks over those with vocals.

Sonically speaking this album is full of surprises, and I mean that in a positive way. Beriau provides plenty of textures and soundscapes created by a variety of keyboards, sound effects and some stellar guitar playing. Everything from beautiful acoustic melodies to stabbing electric guitar can be found. I dare say that much of the guitar on this album reminded me of the great David Gilmour. As a matter of fact, Pink Floyd seems to be a major influence. Beriau also cites Peter Gabriel, Robert Fripp and Van Der Graaf Generator as musical inspirations. Some of the compositions are of the longish variety, giving plenty of room for the various instruments. While many of the songs contain different arrangements and moods, they are well constructed and some nice melodies can be found. The instrumental "Blind Heart" starts with acoustic guitar over a backdrop of synths. The brooding synth lines combined with some distorted electric guitar reminded me strongly of Floyd and is one of the albums best songs. The instrumental "Selfcontempt Behavior or Social Poverty" begins with some interesting sound effects and pulsating keys conveying an Alan Parson's feel. A slow build-up of piano adds to the drama. Also listen for some exceptional drumming on this one.

There is a lot of music to absorb here and the subtleness may take a while to appreciate, but it will be well worth your while. I found this to be a pleasing listen and should appeal to art-rock fans and fans of those bands/artists I previously listed.


Track Listing:
1) Agoraphobia (5:45)
2) Terrorism: A Two Actors Play (4:53)
1) Blind Heart (9:47)
2) Last Call For A Change (6:31)
3) The Rats Leave The Sinking Ship (4:05)
4) Selfcontempt Behavior Os Social Poverty (7:48)
5) Time Fracture (5:51)
6) Thoughts Are Not Enough (4:01)
7) Homeless (…if only!) (6:09)
8) Hoping On The Next Generation (10:28)

Added: October 14th 2008
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: The Artist's Website
Hits: 6208
Language: english

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