Classic turntable-ism. Skittering drum and bass. Soothing melodicism. Muscle-flexing swagger. Hushed contemplation. Space jazz duets for fuzzed-out organ and kosmische synths. The list of components for En Är För Mycket Och Tusen Aldrig Nog suggests Dungen have worked up an acute identity crisis since 2015’s beautifully subdued Allas Sak and its instrumental follow-up Häxan (2016).
Songwriter Gustav Ejstes may have wondered whether newfound sobriety (the album title translates as “one is too many and a thousand never enough”) would blunt his creativity. The opposite has happened. Throughout En Är För Mycket Och Tusen Aldrig Nog, Dungen’s boundaries stretch like well-chewed bubblegum. Suddenly, the Stockholm-based quartet’s albums from 2007’s Tio Bitar onwards seem like a mere blueprint for a unique approach after 2004’s psych-rock masterpiece Ta Det Lungt led to the risk of the band being pigeonholed as retro-heads.
The ensuing mash-up of all of the band’s eclectic influences is what the heavy-lidded pastoral balladry, loose-limbed wig-outs and cosmic meltdowns of more recent Dungen albums have striven for: the striking juxtapositions ultimately cohere into an electrifying album that somehow sounds unmistakably like Dungen despite dodging the band’s usual moves. That the tunes are uniformly very strong helps: it’s hard to decide whether the stately, quietly majestic slow-burn of ‘Om Natten’ or ‘Var Har Du Varit’ (an unlikely collision between drum & bass clatter and vulnerable introspection) presents the band’s recorded peak, with the joyously overdriven fuzz-fest of ‘Nattens Sista Strimma Ljus’ – which takes on the band’s early this-amp-is-on-fire triumphs and wins – not far behind.
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