This Dungen-related band?s debut opens with ?Everybody,? a rollicking psychedelic fisticuffs that, if I closed my eyes and listened hard enough, I?d swear came off some long lost EP from Kula Shaker or Norway?s pop/psych maestros, Dipsomaniacs. The dreamy, weepy ballads like ?Time To Wake Up? are less effective, but only because the lads are slightly out of their element attempting to fill the role of the cute, pin-up boy band playing to the virginal fantasies of wet-pantied teenyboppers. While singer Andreas Stellan assures us ?There?s still time to get high? on ?Speak Your Mind,? his grandiose vocals strain a little too far over the top into Geddy Lee/Steve Marriott territory, and at times, his admittedly powerful vocals seem out of sync with the rest of the band, as if he?s already auditioning for a solo career.
Another cause for concern may be the revolving door around the bass position: with Mattias Gustavsson and Dungen?s Reine Fiske splitting duties, it appears the band is without a permanent bassist, a situation which must be rectified before they can progress to the next level. And while there is a lot happening in the arrangements and production and the musical passages are inventive and exciting, I still can?t escape the feeling that the finished product is still without substance. Perhaps it?s the constant battle between Stellan?s vocal acrobatics attempting to lift him to the rafters and the band?s constant efforts to remain rooted on the ground. There?s also the sense of ?big arena, opening act? histrionics that permeates the album, almost as if the band is trying too hard to impress. For starters, Stellan can tone it down a few notches and begin trying to sing to the front row instead of the balcony all the time.
Still, there?s no denying the skill with which guitarist Martin Fogelstr?m intricately weaves his guitar lines around Stellan?s tonsil exercises. And the swirling, dreamy psychedelia of ?Slow As She Goes? is exactly the tone I?m looking for with Gustavsson?s throbbing, rolling bass lines dancing around Psychedelic Eric?s majestic flute work and a welcome modicum of restraint from Stellan, whose spot-on Greg Lake impression on the decidedly ELP-like ?Numb and Blind? is also a step in the right direction.
Despite these setbacks, it?s light years ahead of recent nonsense from the likes of The Coral, The Libertines and Maroon 5 and is highly recommended to the more discerning palettes of fans who miss Kula Shaker and The Verve or have recently discovered England?s Lazily Spun or Norway?s Dipsomaniacs and AqPop. 6/10 -- Jeff Penczak (16 June, 2005)