Dungen | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Twentysomething Swede Gustav Ejstes was born years after the heyday of the music he reworks under the name Dungen, but though his songs constantly reference 60s psychedelia it never sounds like he's imitating anybody. Dungen's third album, Ta det lungt, released last year on the Swedish label Subliminal Sounds and out next month on Kemado, is a powerful dose of multitracked pop-folk melodies set within a dense barrage of screaming leads, heavy but swinging rhythms, and folk-prog flourishes played by Ejstes on violin. The album became an underground hit last year thanks to a recent surge of interest in psychedelic folk-rock records from the 60s and 70s. But unlike many of his peers past and present, Ejstes has a knack for finding indelible melodies within his baroque arrangements, and he adds warmth and depth with simple, sweet vocal harmonies--a nice change from the MO of the Elephant 6 collective, whose members always seemed to be afflicted with head colds. Ejstes plays nearly all the instruments on Ta det lungt, with pals adding extra touches--Reine Fiske's Hendrix-style guitar leads, most notably--but though he occasionally gets overly fussy, I get a jolt from the album each time I hear it. Dungen's two gigs here mark their Chicago debut; they'll play as a quartet. This show is part of the Intonation Music Festival; for a complete schedule see page 40. Dungen also plays the Empty Bottle on Tuesday. Sun 7/17, 1:30 PM, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, www.intonationmusicfest.com, $15. All ages.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Carl Abrahamsson.

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