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Dungen - Stadsvandringar [Aka: Dungen 2] CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.26 | 23 ratings

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4 stars 4 o clock in the summer morning watching the sunrise.

For some reason this album by the Swedish kings of psychedelic rock revival is rated the lowest on PA. Personally I find it to be a hidden gem in their discography, and while that very well may be down to me understanding the lingo, and the fact that a lot of this album sets scene in a Scandinavian capital filled to the brim with urban delights, flickering sunshine when the summer calls us out to the ocean, and something that a lot of we Northeners share, which is a similar sense of humour and that secret knowledge of what sitting at an empty shoreline at 4 in the morning watching the sky appear in orangy colours - drinking beers, talking about life, people, music and the finer things in life, - what such a thing can bring with it............While that very well may be, I still believe most PA people would dig this big time. I know of at least one American dude who has caught the bug, and inside a time frame of 2 weeks, he'd purchased every album of theirs(here's looking at you Steve).

Anyway back to that bond between us Scandinavians and our mutual adoration of the sparse summer days we get; maybe that is the key to an album that otherwise appears a little too straightforward to the average prog rock dude. I mean 11 cuts, and not a single long piece to scratch that ever so fleeting itch...?! Hold your horses though, because this album absolutely positively smokes! Why? Every song is brilliantly performed, the song writing is inspired, and you do get a lot of different moods wandering freely around a certain psychedelic core, which has always been the centre of attention in Dungen's music. Sure, they sound like they just stepped off the ol Delorian, after having spent the latter half of the sixties jamming together, they zoom straight into a modern studio and deliver the feel, energy and everything passionate and vibrant from the age of beards, - but what's not to like about that image?

While many of the tracks in fact are featured on their debut album, all of it seems new and infinitely more 'together' - at least sound wise. The production skills went up a notch, but only to the point of now being better able to distinguish the instruments from each other, and a certain bigness to some of the arrangements that include windswept flute journeys riding on top of some of the most alluring balladry psych music known to mankind - taking this listener back to Caravan's Love Song With Flute and KC's classic I Talk to the Wind. Beautiful................. Speaking of those two cuts, then imagine the feel and vibe of the production, and then transport it into a psychedelic rock n folk band that oozes early urban summer vibes.

Summer is pretty close to being omnipresent in Dungen's lyrics and music. The freedom it brings - the light - the way it opens up the city, makes it blossom with thousands of people who look like they've been waiting for the occasion for years on end. The feel of wandering through the streets bathed in sunlight or perhaps sitting by the stillness of the lake wearing only a pair of jeans - with the wind softly sipping through your hair.

There are many high points on Stadsvandringar(city wanderings), and I particularly dig the obvious sing-a-long song Har Du Vart' I Stockholm, that also includes some rather beautiful and airy synths at the tail end of the chorus................... I love the rocking groove of Över Stock och Sten, which quite aptly translates into over stock and stone........................ I love the earthiness and timbre of Fredrik Björling's fantastic rumbling drumming,................ I love the breezy character of Ejste's early morning vocals that sound like yearning and care-freeness all at once.

Hang on - what about the sitars, the gentle congas and that genuine Rickenbacker bass sound that tears up trees from the ground by their roots? What about Reine Fiske, - a man I personally consider to be one of the finest guitarists of the past two decades? This guy is remarkable, and as I've said so many a times, I really do consider him to be the perfect splicing of Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour - only with a soul of his own - one that fumbles around in folk, strange atmospheric post rock gestures, a slide technique that truly sounds like shooting stars in olive oil. Lastly you get the genius of his wild spiralling solos, that on Stadsvandringar do tend to be short and somewhat restrained. Even so, when he breaks loose from the foundation of things, he can bring down buildings and woo women like there was no tomorrow.

I can't choose which part of the equation I like the best actually....

If you enjoy the sounds of the late sixties, early 70s, and feel comfortable enough with your manhood, back yard and former council man - to try out other spoken languages than the English, then you should track down a Dungen album as soon as possible. Many have tried to re-erect the greatness and pomp of the classic psychedelic rock explosion, and many have failed because of misconceptions about what constitutes warm and vibrant sound production, - yet with Dungen everything seems to have come together beautifully.

This album lacks some of the soon to come fusion bridges, Dungen would implement in their music the subsequent years(and actually still do), but the raw emotive power of the playing here trumps any need for those in my honest opinion. As much as I love that aspect of latter day Dungen, I feel it'd be unnecessary for this one. There's a charm, a smile and a certain twinkle in it's eye, - something that makes it one of my personal faves from the band.

Take this one with you down to the beach and experience the soundtrack of summer. 4.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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