It had been so long that the “Dungen is Dead” memorials spray-painted in my mind had already been crossed out. Tame Impala emerged from the Australian desert to be the biggest good young rock band in the world and we’d accepted them as halfway saviors. The proverbial next best things with Gustav Estjes, the Abbot of Dungen, locked away in some Scandinavian forest, making Beat Konducta-style Brainwrecks in splendid isolation. He had the right idea. Too weird to live, too rare to want to deal with the grim vagaries of being a professional musician. Maybe the guitarist from Dungen had the right idea in the first place, spending his early days as a postman.
But for the first time since 2010, the Swedish atom smashers have new music from the forthcoming Mexican Summer album, Allas Sak. Two words which translate to “everyone’s thing.” The irony is that Dungen aren’t everyone’s thing. Kevin Parker had to translate their melodies and ambition into English, sing in a Lennon bleat, and take the blueprint to massive success (give the guy credit, he’s publicly admitted to it, and kept evolving).
As for Dungen, they always knew that you should listen more jazz. Their last two albums were essentially psychedelic fusion, as though they were auditioning to open up for Yesterday’s New Quintet. And there is a sax solo in here that gives light and levitation to the fuzzy lysergic guitars and symphony-of-the-nymph pianos. Neither I, nor you can understand Swedish. And that’s part of the beauty of this band. They allow your imagination to to do the work, like the jazz or extended jams. Even if they aren’t everyone’s thing, they are immensely special to a select few. And few things are more welcome than their resurrection.