It was because of a happy accident that I found this band, and it only took me less than one hour to fall in love with this project: a Swedish band from Västergötland made of 4 minds, being one the mastermind of it all: Mr. Gustav Ejstes.
I soon started listening to their CDs through their Myspace page and found a rather folk and 70’s progressive rock influenced band that reminded me of those Sunday morning movies by “El Santo” (a Mexican wrestler famous in the late 60’s and early 70’s, a cult at several parts of the world).
I must say I’m a little bit reluctant to listen to bands whose lyrics are not in a language I can understand (shame on me! I have this thing against Babel’s Tower), but those vintage sounds really caught me and escape was not an option.
This band is different to others not only because of their retro sound and accent, they’ve left their signature in our ears and senses too because they stick to their mother tongue, that is Swedish (such a beautiful language, I must remark), and why? Because that’s the language Mr. Ejstes (the band’s official lyricist) express himself the better; it’s like every word we speak doesn’t feel the same if it’s not in our native tongue.
Recently, I was told they’d be releasing a new album with a rather interesting title: Skit I Allt (Fuck it all). Ain’t that honesty!? And so, Skit I Allt is made of 10 retro spirits, with titles and lyrics I wish I could clearly understand.
The first song from Skit I Allt is ‘Vara Snabb’, an instrumental opening to disclose our ears and senses, a dream wrapped in jazzy sounds and guitars used as in cowboy-like songs.
A flute, the ethereal part Mr. Ejstes added as if to start flying. So, we’re all set with the first insinuation of a vintage dream.
‘Mind Enda Van’, the unmistakable voice, nasal sounds with words I can hardly understand. Violins and flute have been a constant resource in Dungen’s previous work, however, the ensemble they have made for this album is quite different and mature, showing a more introspective album evident from track one, so the second track is surely reaffirming this. Claps, violins, all to the rhythm of a contagious and hidden jazz + rock’n’roll style.
A third track, ‘Brallor’, reminds us of the Summer of Love in the purest expression of what we call classic rock’n’roll these days. A female voice is somewhat the ideal counterpart in this introspection; the bridge marks 100% psychedelic influences and there’s also a reference to the 70’s drumming style.
‘Soda’, I must say, is my favorite track. Nostalgia is the word to describe this piece of tears and joy. I couldn’t help thinking of the most famous Hollywood actresses from the 50’s as many slides of old movies longing for the greatest past of it all, one full of glory, love and expectations, but once we turn to the future we can see it has become only a memory, a part of the past that will never come back because the main human heart, the protagonist of this memory has passed away, a victim of time. The bass line is the gravity of time passing by, inevitable guitar with distortions (wah-wah) being the texture that invites the listener to return and glimpse at that splendor in matte contrasts.
After a dreamy song full of moist, ‘Hogdalstoppen’ (I’d dare to say it refers to something that stops, just guessing) is a proof of how virtuosity was displayed in the times of my parents’ youth: solos, guitar speaking at the rhythm of improvisation, a bass trying to catch up with a guitar which has been given a soul for a moment. A progressive piece of thought that was born in the XXIInd Century, wah-wahs included.
‘Skit I Allt’, the song providing this album with a name: a summer at the beach or just a fine weekend dancing by the pool and having fun just for the pure interest of being young, happy and carefree. An acoustic guitar, cowbell, piano, again the magic flute all giving away a sound that would remind us of a young rock finding its identity apart from jazz and blues.
The seventh title, seven always being a number full of changes (strong ones), and ‘Barner Under’ was the name the seventh numbered track received in this album. A delicate yet powerful vintage sentence explaining in the kindest manner that happiness is vanishing because of a thought or compte-rendu. You gotta love the bass line in this one! Funky soul, all speaking in unison, bass line with a rebellious flair against guitars in despair, all together in that delicate bridge.
‘Blandband’, again an instrumental piece where the main voice is two flutes and claps singing to the retro rhythm, create a reflexive atmosphere in the middle of a plain and imaginary autumn field or a crowded downtown where chaos at its maximum expression is just a few seconds away, just staring at those buildings of old that have survived for centuries. Marvelous drumming, old-school guitars, almost coming from Jimmy Hendrix’s mind. The element that makes this piece different from others emulating those old times is the flute.
‘Nasta Sommar’ opens its sentence with percussions, a more intimate piece, voice that faints, almost shy, like talking to oneself. There are still “prepositions”, musical figures in this song to link transitions so used in the mid 60’s, drums basically, that would clearly help creating this matte atmosphere through your Diana camera lens.
The 10th track, ‘Marken lag stilla’. This is the part when the audience starts worrying because the concert is almost over, time to wrap up. A song in a rush to calm our souls down from a time-travel without the T.A.R.D.I.S. It’s funny how our minds are so used to make the difference between “hello” and “goodbye” melodies, a start with a nostalgic piano, I must say this harmony clearly feels “Farewell”. Slow, psychedelic tones waving goodbye with the last wah-wah from this brilliant album.
In the middle of confusing, stormy and dark times, this album represents a peaceful getaway from reality. The world may tumble and fall, skies would turn grey but the notes in this piece of soul remark how beautiful it is to forget all of our trouble and stop worrying about things that would go away eventually. Skit I Allt, what an accurate name!
What a melody to stay sound! If I had the five-star ranking system, I’d give 5 starts to this album because of its wit, originality, clever vintage perspective, because it is a living proof that sometimes verbal goes under music, that words are overrated.
Congratulations to Dungen. Even when I didn’t understand a word of their lyrics, their music is so full of content that the voice becomes only another instrument. How can you tell what a violin has to say? Go beyond languages, that’s the answer.
About the author: Tonan believes in her heart that you can never have enough wah wah.