Review ·

Picture yourself waking up late on a Sunday morning. Your apartment is cramped, but your bedroom is sunny, especially today. The bustling cymbal work of "Vara Snabb" accompanies your fluttering eyes as you wipe the crust away. As Louis CK would say, you're slowly rebooting the computer. The calm flute quickly transforms into a rumble of guitar, bass and toms as you try to process the night before. All abruptly stops when you realize, "Why remember? Look forward. It's a nice day."

You work your way to the kitchen to the strains of "Min Anda Van." Start a pot of coffee. Brisk handclaps mean it's ready. Occasional strings mark the first pangs of hunger. Gustav Ejstesa's voice reaches into the uppermost regions of his register as you stretch and yawn. Eggs and toast sound good. Pancakes or waffles would be better, but go for hearty and quick. Song is almost over. There's that flute again.

Food was good. But the drums of "Brallor" are strong and the dog has been waiting long enough; time for some action. Won't take much convincing because that sun feels so inviting, lathering your skin like buttercream. There's that girl with the baby pit from the shelter, you should holler. Ejstesa is trading lines with some girl, but you two are so natural together. Then again, it's your weekly routine.

What's great about the park is that it's just alive. It's blood, it's water, it's oxygen. People and the trees. Not even an Italian ice cart -- though one would be nice, right about now. How thrilling can a place be without any money, where the only transactions are between people and their surroundings? Maybe that's why "Soda" brings back the quick cymbal work. Your heart is positively skipping.

 

***

 

Picture yourself in that suburban summer of '76. A teenager, a hi-fi in the basement living room and a stack of LPs. Cue "Hogdalstoppen" as you make your daily trek down those steps. The drums break in at double-time, but the guitar moves to your slow motion scan of the familiar pastels and browns, velour and shag. The bass is working the upper register as you settle into the couch. That couch! So soft it swallows you whole. Facing a television that you have yet to outgrow. The guitar skronk is getting more complicated. Why is your hair so straight? Why are your corduroy bellbottoms so straight? Why are the stripes on your bodytight top so straight? Bass, drums and delayed organ loops -- what is that smell? Is that the room? Is that the factory-fresh LP sleeve? Is that the slightly sweat-stained canister headphones now pressed snugly against your ears? Is that fresh sweat slowly dripping down your pits as you air drum furiously to this increasingly godhead solo? Is that you?

"Skit I Allt" reminds you to wipe your brow and lean back as the heroic guitar returns. Sing along, the hooks are so strong! But keep the headphones on lest you actually hear your own voice. Meanwhile, the air has sculpted a Strat and your hands are working double-tracked leads out of it. The pace quickens and the tension builds as "Barnen Undrar" roars through. Gotta change the tone to get this crunch -- turn the channel knob on your Marshall stack television. You whisper along to those hushed lines, your foot taps harder as the bass becomes more present.... Huh? Oh, uh, hi mom. Didn't see you there. Yeah, I'm ready for dinner.

 

***

 

Picture yourself listening to those past five Dungen albums. "Blandband" marks a familiar instrumental break. Think 4's "Fredag." You prefer "Fredag"'s sliding guitars and twinkling xylophones to "Blandbland"'s crisp guitars, fluttering flutes and rolling drums. But both work as an album break. Were they always this blue and cheery, though? Shreddy but concise? Yes, yes, yes and no. I mean, nearly 20 minutes of screwed sitar a la "Midsommarbongen?"

Similarly the groovy-trippy vibe has been better. "Nasta Sommar"'s white boy's conga and vocals snaking through a tube seems literal in comparison to "Mon Amour' This groovy-plus-trippy vibe has been better. Take "Mon Amour"'s (from 2007's Tio Bitar) suggested cowbell and its stop-and-starts.

However, "Marken Lag Stilla" wraps up the album appropriately. Guitar crunch in the back, voice in the front and a soft bed of open hi-hats counting down the time. 4's "Bandhagen" felt like a night at the cabaret, but this melancholy piano has that Elton flair.

 

***

Band: http://www.dungen-music.com

Label: http://www.mexicansummer.com

Audio: http://www.mexicansummer.com/shop/dungen-skit-i-allt/

  • Vara Snabb
  • Min Enda Vän
  • Brallor
  • Soda
  • Högdalstoppen
  • Skit I Allt
  • Barnen Undrar
  • Blandband
  • Nästa Sommar
  • Marken Låg Stilla

In case you were wondering, the album's Swedish title translates to "Fuck All," but don't let that lead you into thinking Skit I Allt is some abrasive, in-your-face piece of sonic misanthropy. This is Dungen we're talking about after all, and no matter how hard and heavy their music may get at times, these psychedelic Swedes still like to drift and dream atop clouds of trippy tones too. And while some of the previous Dungen albums have been group efforts in name only, with Gustav Ejstes doing the heavy lifting, this release finds them to be more of a proper band, with dynamics to match.

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Great write up, Dan. Really cool. I haven't heard this one yet, but I am really exciting to, since the last couple records have been so excellent.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mfiander/profile.jpg mfiander

Loved this review! I'm listening to the album as I read through it again and it's a perfect fit and even adds something to the album. Thanks!

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Mark William Wales

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