Skit I AlltAlbum | Dungen By Stewart Mason
Psychedelic Swedes get mellow.
Six albums in, Dungen have quietly become the Scandinavian Yo La Tengo: there are subtle adjustments and tweaks to the group's core sound from album to album, but for the most part, if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you're going to like. And yes, "group" is no longer a misnomer: as on 2008's 4, Dungen is now a proper band with a stable lineup, not just multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Gustav Ejstes and whoever else happens to be in the room. Even moreso than on 4, that makes a big difference in the sound: the lovely opening instrumental "Vara Snabb," a jazzy reverie for flute and hand percussion that sounds like the love theme from a Swedish softcore flick circa 1969, is the kind of wide-open, organic-sounding tune Ejstes couldn't have pulled off in his solo days. Most of the album maintains the mellow, sunshiny vibe of its opener, unless Ejstes' Swedish-language lyrics are considerably darker in tone than their musical surroundings. (Which could well be: Skit I Allt is Swedish for "Fuck-All," which seems a tad grumpy.) Even heavier tracks like the fuzz guitar-enhanced "Brallor" are leavened with gentle harmonies and an overall sense of relaxation.