On Dungen's new album, Tio Bitar, you hear a band that's positively recharged itself after riding the waves of below-ground press hype & world exposure following the release of their third record - a latter-day classic, Ta Det Lugnt. Gustav Ejstes, Dungen's founder and principal member, made the new album - his fourth, a sweeping, surprising display of psychedelic rock, presented with a bright, avid confidence largely by himself once again. Gustav wrote the songs, and played most of the instruments on his own, with assistance on guitar from Reine Fiske, whose sensibly expressive soloing follows the path of Swedish psychedelic guitar greats.The character of these songs suggests a new, unburdened direction for the belabored concept of jamming, one that hems in the melodies, borrowing some of their phrasings but spinning off into lucid counterpart, all anchored by the bass, drums, and organ. When vocals as before, sung entirely in Swedish or a flute appear, they're diverging out to a third melody, still safely within the frame, in tune with each part.
leads off with a wordless guitar scream and a blaze of rhythm section, knocking a hole in the wall of sound just as quickly to let in an otherworldly flute melody that's pure Ian Anderson. As modern rockers go, Dungen makes no bones about reaching back into the past to embrace both Black Sabbath's beefy parallel riffing and Jethro Tull's flights of jazzy digression. This is the second U.S. release for the Swedish band, following 2005's Ta Det Lugnt
and as their name implies, Dungen are heavy, metallic, and occasionally impenetrable. Though "psychedelic" is the main reference point that comes to mind, and songs like "C Visar Vägen" and "Familj" display as much structural schizophrenia and loopy, lovely melodicism as a Donovan record hopped up on amphetamines, don't mistake Dungen for an exercise in rose-colored nostalgia--there's more than a twinge of new millennium nervousness in this dense and quite compelling record. --Ben Heege