Skit I Allt, the latest rhythmic beauty from Swedish outfit Dungen, often feels like the ideal soundtrack to a fantasy novel – with more than a hint of psychedelic wonder to keep things interesting. This is the band’s seventh full-length effort and it illustrates to seasoned fans that Dungen still stick closely to their progressive roots. On the other hand, the album also has the capacity to entice new listeners with its joyous melodies and perfectly balanced tunes.
Once listeners, particularly North American listeners, can get past the fact that Dungen don’t sing in English, they can easily let the sweepingly gorgeous – and at times decidedly trippy – tunes wash over them in deliciously creative ripples of sound. “Min Anda Van” is like having dessert before the entrée – a sumptuous bite of soft clapping, dreamy pianos and plenty of warm violins. The sweet vocals are minimal and the sound utterly clean – leaving any listener wanting more. “Natsa Sommar” presents a similarly delectable vibe, this time enhanced with a prominent guitar riff, bongo-type drums and a retro feel. Close your eyes, and you might even feel the warm sunshine of a late summer’s day.
Metaphors and imagery aside, Dungen does a great job of ensuring their songs are equally fast paced and sleepy, which keeps the album moving smoothly and wisely. Skit I Allt kicks off with “Vara Snabb,” an almost eerie percussion-heavy track that alternates between speedy bass and a hollow flute with a crazy prog-rock interlude for good measure. Then, just as listeners might be lulled into a dreamy, psychedelic coma, the album’s title track adds a poppy bit of ’60s flair with heavy drums, acoustic rhythms and some darker vocals which are excellently punctuated by both thick and snarling guitar riffs.
Dungen certainly enjoy adding more than a dose of piano to their tunes on Skit I Allt. “Hodgalstoppen” probably wins the prize for the most creative use of this instrument, as it opens with a calm, light piano melody before exploding merrily into a daze of fast, syrupy guitar riffs that verge on something rather heavy. The guitars are layered with frenzied drums and crashing cymbals and that piano is brought back for a special guest appearance mid track, before dissolving into the band’s signature ’60s-style, Beatlesque prog-rock weirdness. Dramatic? Absolutely. Pretentious? Absolutely not.
At a time when bands seem to be trying to push the limits of electronic sounds as they focus on the latest computer-generated melodies, Dungen offers the contrary idea that carefully selecting instruments to create the right mood is still the most effective way to craft a song.
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MP3: “Marken Lag Stilla”