Dungen
4
(Subliminal Sounds)
recommendedrecommendedrecommendedrecommended

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If there's any one thing Gustav Ejstes, the leader of Swedish psych-rock quartet Dungen, gets most right in his never-ending quest to make records that sound precisely like whatever early '70s albums happen to be his favorite in a given year, it's the stereo mix. On 4—guess how many albums Dungen have released?—the instruments are panned so far and wide it's almost rococo. The guitars and synthesizers on "Det Tar Did" are so far to the right, the snare and acoustic guitar so smack on the left, that it makes Ejstes's center-channel vocal sound like it's wobbling when it isn't.

Chances are you might be somewhat wobbly, too, which is the optimum condition under which to enjoy Dungen generally and 4 specifically. Ejstes's U.S. breakthrough was 2004's Ta Det Lungt, whose smoking guitars and powerhouse drums made me seriously wonder whether it wasn't really some freak crate-digger find from 1971. On 4, Ejstes is still working the same basic terrain: The two numbered tracks titled "Samtidigt" fade in and out like excerpts from a semiwieldy after-hours blues-rock jam, and the whole thing has the kind of matte sheen you normally attribute to recording live to analog tape, rather than the extensive overdubs Ejstes utilizes.

No longer recording alone, as Ejstes used to, his road band is featured here, only instead of amping the rock, the group lays back and explores. Most typical is the ebb-and-rise "Fredag," but there's also "Samtidigt 2," where Reine Fiske's guitar babbles like Neil Young merging into Jerry Garcia. There's just as much of Ejstes's piano in the spotlight here, and it, too, is uncommonly beautiful. Another very '70s thing: Dungen have mellowed. recommended

Dungen perform Fri Nov 7, Chop Suey, 9 pm, $12 adv/$14 DOS, 21+.