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Personally, I never would have bet for Dungen to break out, outside of Sweden. Their dense psychedelic rock is not poppy even at their poppiest, and the whole thing is sung in Swedish.

But in fact, it did, with 2004's "Ta Det Lugnt," despite the music odds being stacked against it. And for the follow up, "Tio Bitar," Gustav Ejstes mostly sticks to the layered psych-folky hard-rock that has worked before, but gives it a slightly grimier edge.

It opens with a buzzing, screaming riff torn from a hard-rocker's heart, twisting around on itself like a coiled spring. But Ejstes throws in some twists -- around the halfway point, it cycles around a delicate flute melody and some rapid-fire drumming. And that's just the introduction!

He follows it up with the very different "Familj," a pleasant blend of ambient retro keyboard, dancy strings and solid drumming (mostly cymbals). You can't really put your finger on what it sounds like, and you can't really label it. Well, good.

The songs that follow are just as unexpected: intensely psychedelic hard-rockers like "Gör Det Nu," rippling pastoral ballads, fast-moving bass-rockers, gentle acoustic pop songs with spiraling riffs. And in the last three songs, Estjes makes his music even more complex -- the finale "En Gang I År Kom Det En Tår" is a masterpiece of fuzzy piano-folk and ambient synth.

"Tio Bitar" is a bit folkier and a bit rockier than Dungen's previous albums, and at times it seems to be split between those sounds -- first we get a psychedelic hard rocker, then a mellotron-folk song. But the heart of "Ta Det Lugnt" still seems to be there -- complex, strange and often meandering.

And Estjes packs this with even more instruments in his rapid, soaring music -- obviously there's the grimy bass and rampaging electric riffs, solid percussion and keyboards. But he packs in flashes of colourful mellotron, delicate flute, violins, and what sounds like klezmer, woven together into a shimmering psychedelic tapestry.

And I have no idea what Estjes is saying (except that the title means "Ten Pieces"), because I don't speak a word of Swedish. But he has a pleasant, mellow voice, sort of like a rockier Colin Meloy, and he can raise his voice to stand out in any kind of music.

"Tio Bitar" is a little bit folk-country, and a little bit rock'n'roll. But it retains the intense prog-psych-rock that Dungen is known for, and only makes it more entrancing.
0Comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 June 2007
Finally, Dungen return with the follow-up to 2004's Ta Det Lugnt. A slower burner of an album that seemed to take an age to finally work it's way into the general conscious, their continual touring schedule seemed to have endeared themselves to the indie massive. Tio Bitar reflects their recent history, a tighter and more focused effort that sees Dungen develop their sound and themes to the next level.

I have to say, for no real reason admittedly, I like albums that start with an "intro". Tio Bitar's three minute instrumental Intro is a beautiful distillation of their sound into one concise piece of music. Devoid of anything outrageous, it's a smooth and polished entrance for the band and a good indication of where the album is going, a kind of Overture if you will. Familj is next with it's skipping drums and whimsical keyboards that turn and weave through the lyrics and would be the perfect soundtrack to some psychedelic images of twirling and bursting flowers. We're then treated to the fuzz roundabout of Gor Det Nu with tinkling pianos that sound as though they're racing a dark and fuzzed up buzz of a guitar through the song, each blast of guitar arrives with a piercing flourish. That's not to say that they don't do slower numbers any more, it's just that Dungen seem to have established and discovered a sound that suits them best. Caroline Visar Vagen is a sweet and beautiful song full of sweeping strings, acoustic guitars and those perfectly punctuated skipping drums only stopped when the organ kicks in and duels, gently, with the flute. The whole record has this great feel to it, a laid back and psychedelic glow that, whilst listening to it, makes you feel as though you're floating away, drifting on an endlessly calm and perfectly blue river. That's not to say that it's boring, it's not. There's just real moments on this album where you want to go to wherever Dungen went, you too want to experience what they did. There's a couple of moments where they do wake you from this trance though. The 70's stomp of Du Ska Inte Tro Att Det Ordnar Sig is throw away and we've heard plenty of this mock-glam stuff so far in 2007. Then there's the boringly gentle Sa Blev Det Bestamt that feels as though it'd soundtrack a European film's soft-focus love scene, just not a very interesting one.

Those criticisms aside, this is a fresh and focused return from the Swedish prog-popsters. Definitely more focused that previously, this is an ambitious record without straying too far from what Dungen are good at: progressive rock with a twist of 00's indie pop. And whilst it's all over too soon, you're left wanting more. I think I'll grow my hair and get a beard you know...

Richard Hughes

[...]
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Personally, I never would have bet for Dungen to break out, outside of Sweden. Their dense psychedelic rock is not poppy even at their poppiest, and the whole thing is sung in Swedish.

But in fact, it did, with 2004's "Ta Det Lugnt," despite the music odds being stacked against it. And for the follow up, "Tio Bitar," Gustav Ejstes mostly sticks to the layered psych-folky hard-rock that has worked before, but gives it a slightly grimier edge.

It opens with a buzzing, screaming riff torn from a hard-rocker's heart, twisting around on itself like a coiled spring. But Ejstes throws in some twists -- around the halfway point, it cycles around a delicate flute melody and some rapid-fire drumming. And that's just the introduction!

He follows it up with the very different "Familj," a pleasant blend of ambient retro keyboard, dancy strings and solid drumming (mostly cymbals). You can't really put your finger on what it sounds like, and you can't really label it. Well, good.

The songs that follow are just as unexpected: intensely psychedelic hard-rockers like "Gör Det Nu," rippling pastoral ballads, fast-moving bass-rockers, gentle acoustic pop songs with spiraling riffs. And in the last three songs, Estjes makes his music even more complex -- the finale "En Gang I År Kom Det En Tår" is a masterpiece of fuzzy piano-folk and ambient synth.

"Tio Bitar" is a bit folkier and a bit rockier than Dungen's previous albums, and at times it seems to be split between those sounds -- first we get a psychedelic hard rocker, then a mellotron-folk song. But the heart of "Ta Det Lugnt" still seems to be there -- complex, strange and often meandering.

And Estjes packs this with even more instruments in his rapid, soaring music -- obviously there's the grimy bass and rampaging electric riffs, solid percussion and keyboards. But he packs in flashes of colourful mellotron, delicate flute, violins, and what sounds like klezmer, woven together into a shimmering psychedelic tapestry.

And I have no idea what Estjes is saying (except that the title means "Ten Pieces"), because I don't speak a word of Swedish. But he has a pleasant, mellow voice, sort of like a rockier Colin Meloy, and he can raise his voice to stand out in any kind of music.

"Tio Bitar" is a little bit folk-country, and a little bit rock'n'roll. But it retains the intense prog-psych-rock that Dungen is known for, and only makes it more entrancing.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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