The Last Hurrah “Modern Nostalgia”

TBC Records, 2023

Yeah, baby! Retro cool 60’s stylings from Scandinavia/USA collaborators.

Cover art for The Last Hurrah 'Modern Nostalgia'The Last Hurrah has been a long-term labour of love for Norwegian producer/musician/ writer HP Gundersen. Utilising the talents of multiple different musicians and singers for his projects over the years, ‘Modern Nostalgia’ represents the latest iteration, and is a record steeped in a cool ’60’s vibe, with occasional hints of Americana through backdrops of pedal steel, shimmering twangy electric guitars and even the occasional fiddle.

The first five tracks feature the breathy, intoxicating tones of fellow Norwegian Maria Due, and have a laid-back, immersive, retro sound. These songs wouldn’t sound out of place soundtracking a new Austin Powers movie, with opener ‘Civilised Wilderness’ and ‘I Do Believe’ especially being hugely catchy, hook-filled pieces. ‘L’albatros’ has a French lyric which appears to tread very deliberately into Serge Gainsbourg / Jane Birkin territory.

The second half of the record broadens the tapestry a little wider, with slightly mixed results. The title track is a quirky instrumental piece with Beach Boys harmonies overlaying a slightly novelty musical journey. ‘Dusty Road’ is perhaps the most Americana outing on the record, with a suitably world-weary vocal from Foster Timms, and has a really enjoyable groove and easy melody line that sits very happily on the ear.

As a whole, this is a record that feels slightly disjointed, and it may have been better split into two The Maria Due tracks sound very much like a body of work on their own, and have a consistency of sound and style that work beautifully together. However, once we move into the second half of the record, the songs understandably change style, albeit within a similar musical setting. This is a minor quibble, perhaps, especially in times when music is consumed as tracks rather than full albums. It certainly shouldn’t detract from a record that is full of memorable musical moments, and lovers of retro sounds will find plenty to entertain them.


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David Harper

Funny, but listening to this song created an image for me of a lonesome cowpoke slowly riding through the streets of New Orleans back in the days of King Cotton, perhaps as the morning sun was just beginning to show itself – the end of the day, and the dawn of a new era, perhaps.