Geoff Berner We Shall Not Flag Or Fail, We Shall Go On To The End

After three years of winning fans the old fashioned way, troubadour Geoff Berner presents his first full-length CD named for a Winston Churchill phrase that may have provided some inspiration during tours through Canada, Scandinavia, England, Eastern Europe and beyond. We Shall Not justly captures the fruits of that labour. "We All Gotta Be a Prostitute Sometimes" is a Berner classic. It starts out as a reassuring song about making compromises for money, but quickly leads into a second verse reiterating how hard it is to use this argument convincingly. Next, a spoken interlude and by the time Berner gets to the complex social hierarchy among real life prostitutes, the listener has been absolved for any moneymaking sins, but not without a bitter twang. In "Maginot Line," Berner uses the failure of that famous stronghold as a metaphor for divorce. While "A Settling of Accounts" is pure performance art, in which Berner lyrically demands a cash payout from the bar and drinks from the audience. Strangely, on CD it works too. As a songwriter, Berner has already been lauded amongst folk stars, and as a musician, it's high time he had a wider audience. His slow, pleading voice combined with jarring accordion riffs (punk? folk?) and artistic pauses reveal a man constantly in awe at the baffling. We Shall Not is surprising, intelligent, funny and sad. (Black Hen)