Dungen - En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog Music Album Reviews

Dungen - En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog Music Album Reviews
The Swedish psych-rock pioneers’ songs are usually like odysseys, but their first full-length studio album in seven years is more of a pleasure cruise.

Over two decades, Swedish psych-rock pioneers Dungen have carved their own niche, spanning ’70s psych rock homage to free jazz freakouts. From 2004’s excellent Ta Det Lugnt to 2016’s witchy Häxan, the band’s M.O. has been consistent: records that feel like epics, gilded with flute solos and fuzz. En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog, their first full-length studio album in seven years, marks a pivot. Here, they exchange dark hallucinations for the sunny gloss of AM radio, trading offbeat textures for more commercial territory.

Like a phantasmagoric acid trip, Dungen makes songs so freewheeling and exploratory that they teeter on the brink of chaos. Every record scratch or woodwind melody suggests a certain feeling, from eeriness to effervescent joy, and asks the listener to embrace it. That level of immersive, microcosmic attention shows up here on tracks like opener “Skövde,” as it did on Häxan’s “Aladdin ach lampan, del 2,” where the flute sometimes sounds like it’s wafting in from another room. The mix balances a swirl of instrumentation and layered harmonies, a driving drum beat building heat until the melody simmers. Attention to detail and production trained for texture make sense—Dungen began recording this album gradually in 2017, and the meticulousness in the intervening years led to tight, propulsive tracks, nary a cymbal fill out of place.

In keeping with tradition, the band is most compelling when their songs are at the tip of some extreme—a slightly spooky piano ballad, or a deranged fusion of keening guitar and skittering beats. The former, “Om Natten,” closes the album with unadorned chords and a haunting metronome. It moves unpredictably between hopefulness and melancholy, one part radio ballad and one part mourning rite. The latter, “Var Har Du Varit?” is a different sort of chimera entirely, though equally charming, like a Chemical Brothers song pulled back in time by some wizard on LSD.

“Om Det Finns Något Som Du Vill Fråga Mig” is light and sweet, but a little insubstantial too, like a Necco wafer—the sort of step-touch pop song that might’ve been sung by a sibling duo in matching jumpsuits. “Nattens Sista Strimma Ljus” is the reverberant, wilder sibling of Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy,” a winsome melody laced with distortion, where the wheels might come off at any second. The organ chords on “Möbler” evoke the Steve Miller Band, all bombast and build. And while these references are beloved for a reason—who doesn’t want to fly like an eagle?—Dungen’s iterations of these sounds can feel weak, especially compared to the depth and audaciousness of their earlier work. The expectation is an odyssey, but you wind up on a pleasure cruise. It doesn’t sate your wanderlust, even if it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

It’s possible that these songs were a conscious attempt to move even closer to Tame Impala and the War On Drugs’ festival-headlining sound, the irony being that Dungen came first (and informed them both). Mostly, En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog offers driving, instantly catchy songs that would sound excellent blaring from beneath a laser show, some ferris wheel spinning in the background. The destination is almost too familiar; before, Dungen often led listeners down a thornier, less trodden path. The preferable voyage will depend on who’s listening.
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Dungen - En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog Music Album Reviews Dungen - En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 17, 2022 Rating: 5


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