Dungen – Skit I Allt
[Subliminal Sounds, 2010]
Jeff Pearson, September 17, 2010
Originally published by Life’s Sweet Breath
Listen: “Vara Snabb”
Our favorite Swedish psych-rockers return with their sixth studio album, Skit I Allt (“Fuck It All” in Swedish). The album is a further step away from the early, guitar-driven psychedelic passages that gained Gustav Ejstes renown and a cult-like following. It’s more in the vein of their previous album, 4, with mellowed-out, jazz influenced compositions which feature clean, syrupy guitar tones from Reine Fiske, and Ejstes sticking to the duties of vocals and keyboards.
The dynamic is established right off the bat with “Vara Snabb”, an instrumental featuring Ejstes playing a thoughtful flute line over interchanging parts ranging from filling deep space and decorating a funky, fuzzed-out groove. The laid-back vibe continues onto “Min Enda Vän”, a song driven by lilted string arrangement and Ejstes’ pronounced vocals smoothly dancing overhead. “Brallor” features guest vocals from Anna Järvinen, sharing with Ejstes the space above the driving rhythm of Fiske and drummer Johan Holmegard.
“Högdalstoppen” shows Dungen’s more familiar side. A sprawling instrumental featuring pounding drums from Holmegard and completely calculated chaos created by Ejstes and Fiske, the song shows off the reason Dungen has reached the heights they have. The track is best enjoyed with the lights off, staring at a ceiling or wall of some sorts. Canvas needed to paint a kaleidoscopic picture upon. “Skit I Allt” features catchy vocals and lovely electric guitar harmonies scaling up and down the neck.
“Blandband” is another intriguing instrumental tune that climaxes in Ejstes trading his flute riffs with Fiske’s reverb-soaked guitar leads. This instrumental, along with the other two on the album, achieve a sense of freedom while still sticking very much to a structure. This allows the listener to get lost in the music while never feeling they’ve wandered off too far.
Dungen have proved again and again that they can bring not only foreign vocals to the American audience, but also how adept they are in blending styles of music together while keeping the general aesthetic quite similar. Under-pronounced production and beautiful tonal qualities to their music allow them to fluctuate from being the at the forefront of the modern psychedelic movement, to shifting their gaze upon jazzier arrangements and more structured approaches to songwriting. It might have to do with the fact that Ejstes has given up his total creative control to achieve a group dynamic, but his vision is still very much on display here.