The Last Hurrah (!!) is the brainchild of Norwegian music connoisseur, producer and musician HP Gundersen.
‘Modern Nostalgia’ is the fifth album by the group and a perfect title for its ongoing evolution, showcasing the musical roots and inspiration of its creator and his current chosen cohorts.
Modern Nostalgia’ takes listeners on a loving yet original Transatlantic journey, with European echoes of Serge Gainsbourg, John Barry and Marianne Faithfull rubbing shoulders with the heart of Laurel Canyon and the equally inspirational likes of Gram Parsons, Gene Clark and The Byrds.
The first single from the album, ‘Bonnie Michelle’, is reminiscent of the tonal language of Erik Satie’s ‘Gymnopédies’ and is coloured with an unusual multicultural soundscape, dominated by the guzheng (Chinese string instrument) playing of Nora Yuyue Zheng in combination with a Pedal steel guitar contribution by the legendary Marty Rifkin (Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Elton John, Glen Campbell). It is beautifully sung by Maria Due, who HP has previously produced two albums for and collaborated with in the group Chinatown Blues.
With a career that stretches back to 1973, The Last Hurrah (!!) has been HP’s main activity since 2020, when the start of the pandemic saw him leave the city of Bergen and move to a former fishing village in west Norway with his pianist wife Cecilie Leganger. Setting up a studio in their basement, a new era began when, despite the cessation of normal social activity, a close circle of musician friends who suddenly had a lot of free time on their hands visited frequently to jam and write songs.
Energised by their idyllic new location and the unique situation they found themselves in, HP and Leganger, plus Yuyue Zheng and other guests such as Stein Inge Brækhus (drums), Andreas Nausdal (bass) and Mari Persen (violin) created new music primarily influenced by a shared nostalgia for 1960s French pop, film music, baroque pop and psychedelic folk. HP’s handpicked choice of singers include compatriot Due on several tracks, with Americans Tim Scott McConnell (aka Ledfoot), Foster Timms and Shane Alexander also on vocal duties.
Where the first two albums by The Last Hurrah (!!) had been widely acclaimed drone-tuned, meditative journeys, with the next two taken in a more traditional song-based direction incorporating cosmic Americana, country and jazz, ‘Modern Nostalgia’ can be seen in part as a subtle combination of both approaches.
1 Civilized Wilderness
2 Bonnie Michelle
3 Time Heals Wounds
5 Do Believe
6 Modern Nostalgia
8 Dusty Road
9 Internet Troll