sun 14/07/2024

CD: Dungen - Allas Sak | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dungen - Allas Sak

CD: Dungen - Allas Sak

A new beginning and declaration of rights from Sweden’s sonic voyagers

Dungen's 'Allas Sak': an album of great beauty

From its title-track opening cut to the final moments of its closer “Sova”, Allas Sak is recognisably a Dungen album. The musical dynamic between the Swedish quartet’s members and their collective sound is so distinctive that they effectively constitute a one-band genre. Allas Sak does not have as many dives into a jazz-informed inner space as its predecessor 2010’s Skit I Allt, and is also not as pastoral.

The new album is, instead, more minimally arranged and balances melody with interrelated instrumental passages with a greater fluidity than previously. As ever, the lyrics are in Swedish and the jumping off point is from Sweden’s progg (sic) music of late Sixties and after. Allas Sak is an album of great beauty and could be read as a form of prog-rock in the British sense. It is not. The second and third tracks “Sista Festen” (last feast) and “Sista Gästen” (last guest) are defined by melody and texture of Gustav Ejstes’s vocal and Reine Fiske’s guitar, not instrumental technique. A powerful forward motion underpins everything. “Franks Kaktus” is about flute and guitar, but about the groove too: Allas Sak is too precise for any pigeonholing as prog-rock.

It also belatedly confirms that Dungen stands apart from the group's followers. The dates are a coincidence but Skit I Allt was issued the same year as Tame Impala’s debut album, the wholly Dungen-derived Innerspeaker. With 2012’s Lonerism, Tame Impala repeated the trick. Without this second-hand inspiration, Britain’s Temples could not have emerged. In Sweden, Dungen have had a similar effect: Goat would not be ploughing their furrow of repetition without Dungen raising the profile of progg. The same applies to Hills's take on the same sources.

Yet Dungen themselves were not quite absent. In the period between Skit I Allt and Allas Sak, Fiske played with Sweden’s The Amazing, and Norway’s Motorpsycho and Elephant9, bringing his distinctive ringing sinuousness to all three. Now, this is back in its original context: Allas Sak is a new beginning and declaration of rights. It arrives on a new label for Dungen: Norway’s Smalltown Supersound rather than Sweden’s Subliminal Sounds. It’s good to have Dungen back, there is no substitute for the real thing.

Overleaf: watch the video forFranks Kaktus” from Dungen's Allas Sak


Watch the video forFranks Kaktus” from Dungen‘s Allas Sak

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