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Peter Morén: The Last Tycoon

B-

Peter Morén

Album: The Last Tycoon
Label: Quarterstick

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It's easy to poke fun at one-hit wonders, but if a band plays its cards right, one song can fund an entire career. It remains to be seen whether "Young Folks" will have that kind of power for Swedish trio Peter Bjorn And John, but it's definitely going to help get singer Peter Morén's more attention than his solo debut would have earned otherwise. Too bad, then, that The Last Tycoon is merely a relatively enjoyable singer-songwriter record, with Morén's ESL musings about relationships and human nature set atop acoustic guitar, piano, and harmonica played in very familiar ways. The album is at its best as the songs nudge closer to Nick Drake, but Morén's Lennon-esque voice isn't nice enough to complete the comparison, and even though the strings on a couple of songs are much appreciated, The Last Tycoon never feels like it's trying to be more than a minor solo side project. That's fine, but it also means nothing here is very exciting, with the exception of "Social Competence," a great anti-small-talk anthem with a chorus that sounds a little like Wham!'s "Freedom."