CD Review: Dungen — Skit I Allt

Skit I Allt
Mexican Summer

By Eileen Tilson

For those of you who do not have their English-Svenska Dictionary handy while listening to the latest album Skit I Allt from Swedish dream rockers, Dungen, let’s not the title’s potency get lost in translation, Skit I Allt= F*** it All. Frontman Gustav Ejstes explains, it’s less a guide to Swedish swearing than a show of affirmative action, as in: “F*** it, do as you want, time is passing and it’s changing, forget fears and hang-ups, we are small and everything is pretty insignificant on the whole. How will it be? What shall we do? We often worry so much unnecessarily. Skit I Allt, it’s happening now.”

For those of you not familiar with Dungen, do not assume that this is just another Scandinavian hardcore band. In fact, there is nothing hard about this bucolic psychedelic orchestra. Ejstes has always been the main composer for Dungen, writing all the music and playing almost every instrument on the album, but for this go around he is beefed himself up with a touring band including guitarist Reine Fiske, bassist Mattias Gustavsson, and drummer Johan Holmegard.

Even without Ejstes explanation, upon first listening to the melodic flutes in opening track “Vara Snabb,” the Swedes’ sixth album already suggests a world of freedom, not so much in the anarchist way, but as if the entire album was the soundtrack to a Virginia Woolfe novel: completely aware and totally consumed within one’s mind.  Via a lightly tapped cymbal, thumbed electric piano, skittish guitar and a lead flute, “Vara Snabb” establishes a presence that never wavers, not even when the following “Min Enda Vän” adds strings, distant drums and Ejstes’ dreamy vocals.

Like their Nordic pals, Sigur Ros, Dungen remains loyal to their native language without overpowering the music; in essence, the music is the only language you need to understand to feel the effects of these 10 tracks, yet at just under 34 minutes you snap out of it just in time before falling down the black hole. Released on Mexican Summer, Skit I Allt is a strange dream, where it is actually preferable not to understand.


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