Dungen, Eng.: “The Grove”, are a Swedish band headed by the virtuosic Gustav Ejstes, who plays most of the instruments on their recordings. Dungen’s eclectic, melodic neo-classicism incorporates aspects of guitar-heavy classic rock, free jazz, swedish folk music, and melodic indie pop. Their third album, Ta det lugnt, was lauded by a somewhat underground audience after its release in 2004 before gaining widespread critical acclaim in “mainstream” press such as the NME, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork Media. Dungen plays psychedelic rock reminscent of late 60s acid rock, particularly Parson Sound.
Hailing from Sweden, Dungen have catapulted themselves to the top of the heap of the Scandinavian fold-psych throwback bands. They may have their roots in the psychedelic sounds of yesteryear, but Dungen are like nothing you’ve ever heard. It’s obvious that the band have taken an organic approach to capturing their sound which complements their craft brilliantly.
With their latest outing, 2004’s ‘Ta Det Lugnt’, which translates in English to ‘take it easy’ offered something that I believe is desperately lacking in today’s rock and roll. Dungen are a breath of fresh air. There is just something totally approachable and inviting about this record. There is reverb-a-plenty in the guitars and the drummer plays with a style reminiscent of Mitch Mitchell or Ginger Baker- loose, fast, and no more or less than what is needed.
The hype surrounding this album was enormous. And, I believe, as of this writing the album is still only available as a Swedish import on Subliminal Sounds but a US release is in the works that will also include a disc of bonus material. It is worth every cent you will pay for the import of this album. It will more than pay for itself after the first listen and you will know your hard earned money didn’t go to waste.
The opening track of the album opens with a drum intro, that when I first heard, I thought sounded like the beginning of a Coltrane song or something, then the guitars come in and you know this is no Coltrane tune. The lyrics, which are an in Swedish, are perhaps part of what make this record so approachable- you don’t know what the heck he’s singing about, but the tunes rock- that’s all you need to know. For good measure there are even a couple of tracks that feature a kind of free-form jazz sound with heavily reverbed sax, drums, piano and bass.
Order it online, scour your local independent record stores, or do what you must to attain this record. It’s worth it- simple as that. Now, all they need to do is get over here and tour because after you hear this album you will absolutely have to see them live because if their studio sound is that damn good then the live show will be some valkyrian spectacle that you’ll want to shoot yourself in the foot for missing.
Review by Emma Loggins