Mark Berube What The River Gave The Boat

What The River Gave The Boat is the first half of a double album by Brandon, MB folk musician Mark Berube. Vibrant and outspoken, yet hidden behind a storybook feel, the record meanders through issues such as war, politics and the impossibility of privacy. Berube’s triumphant vocals paint a picture of many worldly concerns, taking everything that is dark and gloomy and transforming them into a series of mini-tales with no resolute ending. On "Cloudy Day,” African influences can be heard through the jazzy percussion (Berube grew up in southern Africa) while Berube sings, "We’re picking up the pieces on a cloudy day,” alluding to our backwards way of dealing with socio-political issues. "Tomorrow” is fatalistic and grim yet strangely empowering; we don’t necessarily have control over our lives but we can make every moment count. The detail Berube incorporates into his lyrics makes it hard not to see what he sees, and if What The River Gave The Boat can be so alluring, I can’t imagine that his next album, What The Boat Gave The River, would be any less spectacular. (Kwalu)