Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Aug. 19, 2005
Ta Det Lugnt (Kemado)
There's a Swedish proverb that says, "Wisdom is in the head and not in the beard." This adage applies to Dungen, a band that plays like the past 25 years never happened. Ta Det Lugnt ("take it easy"), the band's third album, grows from the verdant psych pastures of 1960s Sweden, an era frontman/multi-instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes pilfers from unrepentantly. It sounds unfiltered, raw, and rough, and the quartet's mixture of guitar, organ, fiddle, percussion, and flute (Jethro Tull in the house) makes it all the more authentic. Ejstes also sings all in Swedish, so there are no confusing lyrics about magic windmills or talking mountains. That "take it easy" vibe is all over their 2-CD U.S. release. Opener "Panda" applies just the right pressure with a crazyass drum roll and guitar explosion; "Festival" is easy on the ears, Ejstes' voice floating like a Nyquil-drunk Robert Plant. "Bortglömd" is the face-melting cliff-jumper complete with a theatrical guitar breakdown. The second disc of new Dungen material is even more impressive and mostly instrumental. Standout "Christopher" spirals into a Santana-at-Woodstock organ trip-out that pits the spirit of '69 against the hammer of the gods, and "Badsang" is a lysergic, effects-laden wilderness jam complete with wind chimes. Go ahead and call them hippies, but for Dungen, it's not about the beard.