Thursday, September 16, 2010

Skit I Allt - Dungen

Skit I Allt

Mexican Summer Records.

SCQ Rating: 85%

It’s one thing to throw up your hands and surrender your obliviousness to what genres Dungen are working within, but another thing entirely to get over it. Transforming from an electronic-minded post-rock record to a psychedelic jazz collection upon early listens, Skit I Allt now seems poised to rest as a cosmic-lounge album with the occasional psych explosion. At least that’s what I’m willing to hold with right now, until this concise ten-song set opens another rabbit hole to become swallowed in. Touching upon everything from retroist stoner rock to innocuous elevator music, Skit I Allt isn’t fascinating for where it wades in the genre-pool so much as how its gears turn musical tastes inside out and backwards, injecting meaning into the superficial.

Once you’ve listened beyond the sugary surface of ‘Vara Snabb’’s woodwind lead or the faceless rhythm guitar that makes ‘Soda’ sound unabashedly trite, Skit I Allt’s pastiche evaporates into an honest key to Dungen’s transcendence. The gluttonous ‘Hogdalstoppen’, which inverts an acid-rock jam into a sleek, jazz-bound triptych, soon becomes an important centerpiece, whereas the opener’s muzak-inspired flute sets the tone of a haunted establishing shot. That’s right; despite many songs actively rewriting the tenets of dissimilar musical styles, Skit I Allt carries an elusive but equally inviting narrative, one that requires careful listening and a lively imagination to sprout from. So, yeah, it’s a stoner record through and through, but not one that necessitates the presence of narcotics to move you someplace new.

A particular joy with Skit I Allt is its getting-to-know-you stage, as each track contains such unique personality. Mindbending instrumental moments develop into quick identifiers distinguishing songs, as how a solid guitar line wobbles and descends in ‘Barnen Undrar’ or the unexpected female vocals that swell in on ‘Brallor’. They may sound like slight details on paper but Dungen disguise them into mood-changing touchstones that could only seem trivial compared to Skit I Allt’s greater stylistic departures; ones that should keep listeners fastened in thirty or forty listens later. This album has crossover potential all over it, for prog-rock fans who’d never liked jazz and lounge-pop fans who’d never liked noise records. Approach Skit I Allt with an open mind and it’ll reward well beyond your expectations, even if you still aren't sure how to describe it.

Blandband by dungen

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