Photo: Isak Berglund Mattsson Marn / Courtesy of Chromatic PR

Dungen’s ‘En Är För Mycket’ Opens Up New Paths for Modern Psych Rock

En Är För Mycket is even brighter and bolder than Dungen’s past works, transfiguring pastoral impressions into wild explorations of fuzzy, feedback-heavy brilliance. 

En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog
Mexican Summer
7 October 2022

En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog is the first new conventional studio album from Stockholm-based outfit Dungen in quite some time. In the seven years since releasing Allas Sak, they’ve kept fans worldwide well-supplied with releases like Häxan (a soundtrack to The Adventures of Prince Achmed), Myths 003 (a collaboration with Woods), and a 2020 live release. It’s a splendid return. At the intersection of psych, prog, and pop, Dungen’s music is always kaleidoscopic. En Är För Mycket is even brighter and bolder than the group’s past works, transfiguring pastoral impressions into wild explorations of fuzzy, feedback-heavy brilliance. 

At the helm, as always, is songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes, who interweaves Swedish folk sounds and electronic styles like drum and bass with the exuberant rock at the heart of Dungen’s sound. On En Är För Mycket, his work has particular clarity of sound and purpose. That’s crucial with such complex parts in play. Thick vocal harmonies and intricate electric guitar lines (from Reine Fiske) make for a stunning soundscape, never sounding muddled, even at moments of deep interplay. “Var Har Du Varit?” is an outstanding example, a frenzy of breakbeats behind effortless vocals and loping guitar, a constant motion that never descends into chaos.

Other pieces take smoother courses from start to finish. The sunny opening track “Skövde” takes a nostalgic look back at the heady days of youth with blissful and building arrangements of voice, acoustic and electric guitars, keys, and percussion that make for a composition rife with vintage warmth. It pairs well with the powerful, wistful follow-up “Om Det Finns Något Som Du Vill Fråga Mig”, lit by the analog glow of piano chords.

Exuberant “Nattens Sista Strimma Ljus” is when Ejstes fully launches the album into psychedelic orbit. Opening with a gloriously quick melody on electric guitar, it quickly grows into a masterpiece of echoes, harmonies, and fast beats that make for a perfect intergalactic balance of tempos and textures. The driving organs of “Möbler” continue the voyage, spiraling through open space alongside constellations of plugged-in fuzz. “Höstens Färger” takes us back down to Earth to witness a grounded but still imaginative landscape vibrant with the track’s titular autumn colors.

The album ends with a suite of three constantly fluctuating tracks dedicated to the unpredictable atmosphere of late night. “Klockan Slår, Den Är Mycket Nu” swings between segments of cool, spacious keys and twisting neon rock. Interlude “En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog” layers soothing spoken word over drum and piano in a veritable prog lullaby. Finally, “Om Natten” closes the record gently, synths drifting past other sonic ephemera–flute, piano, guitar, voice–toward a comforting musical horizon.

Everything about En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog is technically satisfying. The work here is as intricate as it is impassioned, with neither form nor feeling sacrificed as Ejstes builds a multidimensional musical world. Whether or not you’re familiar with Dungen’s previous work, this is a phenomenal display of their collective skill and penchant for a rich and genre-bending atmosphere. It’s a hopeful sign for potentially taking psych rock out of the realm of vintage and instead moving in serious new directions.

RATING 9 / 10