MÄKKELÄ - Last Of A Dying Breed

Mäkkelä - Last Of A Dying Breed

12 songs
42:57 minutes
***** **


German-Finnish musician Martti Mäkkelä is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to musical diversity. In the last quarter century, the tall artist has played in the most different kinds of bands. At first there were the punkish Miracle G(y)rls, which was followed by a solo career that once was lo-fi, then flirted with electronic elements. With Mäkkelä & Orkesteri, he dabbled in chamber music. His newest solo album Last Of A Dying Breed goes back to classic singer/songwriter material. It’s not a downright solo album because there are a lot of guest musicians coming mostly from the universes of jazz and indie music.

No matter what Mr Mäkkelä is performing, his music has always been too strange from the masses. There have never been any commercial ambitions, it was always about touring and presenting his music at the most different places, even if it meant playing only in front of a small audience. He likens his new album Last Of A Dying Breed to a road movie, as the music is a mix between Americana and lo-fi, the ideal soundtrack for that kind of thing.

The musician’s Finnish roots explain of course the ubiquitous melancholy, starting right on the sad acoustic opener I Never Liked This Town. The following Saints continues in the same vein, before some wind instruments lightly elevate the mood on Not Where I Belong. A first real highlight comes with Air Catalan on which vocal duties are shared between Martti Mäkkelä and Throw That Beat’s Anja Kröpke. In The South West comes with accordion parts that make it sound somewhat like a shanty, and the dark Tramontana could work as the soundtrack for a TV crime drama. Next up are three very quiet tracks that didn’t really catch my attention, before the swinging Crisis brings life back to the party. The traditional protest song Bottle Hill should not be missed. The album is concluded by the once again very calm Good Friday.

What can be said about Last Of A Dying Breed? The music is too quiet for my subjective taste, but it is undeniable that a lot of effort has been invested. I have always preferred Martti Mäkkelä’s rocking side, which he last did on the Tres Biens’ four track EP in early 2015. I will wait longingly for the next such venture.

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