The title—in case you’re wondering—is either “To Hell With It” or “Fuck It” depending on how hard you want to annunciate your interpretation of what it means to put on the blinders and just move forward.
For a band like Dungen who’ve always seemed to operate in their own bubble of isolation anyway, the question then becomes “Just what new ground is Dungen speaking about with this declaration of ignoring the distracters and pressing ahead with their own vision?”
Let’s be honest, to completely abandon Dungen’s strength would be their undoing. And Dungen’s strength is in their ability to mimic progressive psychedelia with such jaw-dropping accuracy that you need to periodically check your smart phone to see if some form of time travel has taken place in the midst of their tape hiss and guitar fuzz.
Skit I Allt still parties like its 1969, and musically it continues to use the Jimi Hendrix Experience as its roadmap. It’s the second long player that continues with the full band approach started on 4. Despite the democratic facade, it still sounds like frontman Gustav Ejstes is driving the vehicle.
Ejstes seems to be urging his bandmates into a more progressive realm. He whips out the jazz flute a bit more on this set and the album features more soft passages than in records past. The acoustic flourishes and lilting rhythms are beautiful, but it takes some getting used to, considering how his compatriots are very capable of letting their freak flags fly when the moment hits.
That moment, which also just happens to be Skit I Allt‘s highpoint, comes during “Högdalstoppen,” a track of such guitar-shredding proportion that the umlauts should serve as mandatory warnings of Reine Fiske’s prowess on his Stratocaster. It’s an incredible display, and it makes the album worth the price of admission.
The irony, though, is that it’s also the song that sounds like old Dungen, meaning that it can easily fit on the band’s breakthrough album, Ta Det Lugnt.
I suppose there’s something to be said for a record that is clearly intended as a foray into new, jazzier areas for Sweden’s kings of lysergic rock when the finest moment mirrors the same place that they’re trying to move away from, but I won’t fault the band for trying to mix it up a bit.
The success of “Högdalstoppen” does manage to make the quieter moments more memorable, and it gives Skit I Allt a well-rounded feel when listening from start to finish.
But it also manages to make me long for an entire record of ear-damaging freakout jams. They hinted at this, particularly in the low-fi track “Samtidigt.” which they presented in its entire quarter-hour-long glory during their last tour.
The idea of a complete Dungen record like this still eludes us, while the occasional hints of that possibility keep me following Ejstes’ to see what direction he takes the band next.
Skit I Allt is Dungen’s slow drive through some beautiful scenery that’s hopefully headed for a time when they really open the thing up.
Video: Dungen – “Skit I Allt”