CDs Nuts

The best way to analyze Dungen’s music, of course, is to compare them to the proud list of Swedish musicians who have preceded them. For a lot of people, that pretty much means ABBA, Ace of Base, and that chef guy from the Muppets. So the easier reference is ’60s acid rock, because these guys are making some music to ingest semi-harmful substances to.

But unlike their American and British psychedelic counterparts, Dungen is more about musicianship than freaked-out wanking. No song on Tio Bitar (Ten Pieces) breaks into 10-minute territory, and main man Gustav Ejstes is more likely to hit you with a scorching violin solo (i.e. “C Visar Vägen”) than a patience-trying guitar lick. And, considering some of history’s best drug bands mostly spouted self-important babble and buzz-killing Indian poetry, the fact that you can’t understand the lyrics is pretty refreshing.

So yes, this album’s for sale at Starbucks, and Feist songs are on LaCoste commercials and Grey’s Anatomy, but does that make it bad?

Normally the answer is yes, but there’s more to Leslie Feist than hawking cologne and soundtracking randy doctors. Sure, acoustic number “The Park” almost makes you crave an espresso, and it’s basically impossible to hear weepy piano tune “The Water,” with its upright bass and bongo taps, without picturing Ms. Feist in a black turtleneck and dark glasses and maybe even a beret. But dig the brilliantly weird Graceland-with-synthesizers vibe on “Sea Lion Woman,” and the maybe too-catchy slide guitar/ handclap combo on “Past in Present.”

So grab a copy of The Reminder — hell buy it at Starbucks even. Your indie-snob ego could use a blow like that.

Put it this way: If whoever’s got control of the Beatles’ catalog these days released a comparable collection to The Warmth of the Sun, it would be called 2, or maybe even 3. The point is that 2003’s Sounds of Summer took care of basically every hit any casual fan would want on record, sticking The Warmth of the Sun with peddling also-rans (“Hawaii,” “Catch a Wave”) and songs most non-boomers only remember from commercials (“409,” “All Summer Long”).

But like any random sampling of Beach Boys songs, there’s some genuinely amazing stuff here, too (“Til I Die,” “Surf’s Up,” “Feel Flows,” “Sail on Sailor”) — about a third of the album in fact.

The problem here, though, is who wants this album? Rabid fans already have all the original albums these songs came on, plus any applicable Smile bootlegs, etc. And most anybody else will probably be uncomfortable hearing “Til I Die” or “Don’t Go Near the Water” when they just want “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

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