DUNGEN – Ta det lugnt (2004)

Review by: Kacper Kopacz
Album assigned by: Ed Luo

1. Panda 2. Gjort bort sig 3. Festival 4. Du e för fin för mig 5. Ta det lugnt 6. Det du tänker idag är du i morgon 7. Lejonet & Kulan 8. Bortglömd 9. Glömd konst kommer stundom ånyo till heders 10. Lipsill 11. Om du vore en vakthund 12. Tack ska ni ha 13. Sluta följa efter. 

Dungen means clutter, what else is there to say – they are a Swedish progressive-pop band. On “Ta det lugnt”, they sing in Swedish, and most amazingly this album has charted in America. This means that their melodic skill is quite outstanding. This album sounds like some ABBA + some Jethro Tull and proves that liking one of these bands should mean loving them both.

The problem I see here is that Dungen is not going to save Rock music, unlike Tom Petty who did*. Their pattern seems to be evident through the whole of “Ta det lungt” and results are noticeable – it seems “nobody” outside of Sweden cares for them nowadays, ten years after this record was released.

I can’t neglect the fact that they were interesting – ABBA meets psychedelia is intriguing, in the ground of progressive-rock. However to my ears this isn’t an even album. First, there is “Panda”, the song, which works really well as an opener. The vocal melody is catchy in an expressive ABBA-esque style and the song is accompanied incredibly well by an economic instrumental arrangement. Later, on the next two songs I hear some intriguing moods and overall great sound – yes, the recording rules all the way – but melodies seem to be more hidden and it’s not well, since I don’t understand the lyrics. The main feature, in which this album rules and sucks, is the ability to please a listener without making him committed.

Songs, “Du E för Fin för Mig” (You’re too good for me) and “Ta det lugnt” (Take it easy) contain a fusion of folk (Swedish folk, I guess) motives with progressive-rock guitar parts, that could appear on a Jethro Tull record. In the title song, there’s a presence of jazz-sax, and although I don’t find it extremely amusing, I must say it fits the song well. Just like Jethro Tull, Dungen doesn’t convince me to fantasize about them.

Next few songs are mostly instrumental, again quite proficient but not mind-blowing. I recommend listening to these after being aware of what their titles mean. On the song “Bortglomd” (Forgotten) Dungen came close to the noise-pollution.

The final track, “Sluta följa efter” (Stop following) has an interesting tension and melody, reminiscent of what was done by King Crimson on Red. Vocal isn’t alike ABBA anymore, this time we face some interesting noise-rock experimentation. 
All in all, this record is good. I don’t think it’s a must-have, but rather definitely a worthy listening experience. It should be also noted here that in 2005 “Ta det lugnt” was reissued with five more instrumental songs, which might be the best buy for someone fancying Dungen.

*Tom Petty saved Rock music not once, but thrice!
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Author: tomymostalas

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