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Peter Morén 

The Last Tycoon(Wichita/Quarterstick)

Wednesday, Apr 30 2008

It's hard to keep a frontman happy. Today's lead singers often harbor dreams of going it alone once they gain success with their bands, from Steve Perry to Gwen Stefani to Thom Yorke. Add to this list Peter Morén, lead singer and guitarist for Sweden's whistling sensations Peter Bjorn & John. No, PB&J aren't breaking up; in fact, they're hard at work on new material. In the meantime, Morén has released a solo album of materiel he's been working on over the past several years. The result is The Last Tycoon, a jejune disc of adult-contemporary tracks masquerading as indie rock.

The Last Tycoon centers on Morén and his guitar, exemplified by the spare, mournful folk of "This Is What I Came for." His solitary singer-songwriter inclinations are indulged on the Leonard Cohen-lite "Missing Link" and "Gaze at the Sky for Long," the meditatively finger-picked closer. Opener "Reel Too Real" adds bass, a click track, synths, and a ringing bell to the mix, but all the accoutrements don't hide the fact that the romantic pop-frolic PB&J do so well is sorely missed here, replaced with a sappy sincerity. Morén is a talented songwriter, but on his own, these sensitive ruminations on youth and love are uninteresting and uninspired.

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Jonah Flicker


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