Nicolai Dunger

Rosten Och Herren

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Following a series of albums recorded in America with American musicians like Will Oldham and Dave Fridmann and incorporating American folk and country influences into his music, Swedish singer/songwriter Nicolai Dunger retreated into himself and his homeland for 2007's Rosten Och Herren. Dunger's first album written and recorded in his native Swedish, it's also his most skeletal album yet: much of the album consists of little more than Dunger's voice, often in an atypical near whisper, and fingerpicked acoustic guitar. It's almost like a Swedish version of Nick Drake's Pink Moon, with a bit less sense of looming despair and tragedy. Those listeners whose Swedish is rusty have only the sound of the album itself to go by, and unfortunately, that's often not quite enough thanks to the monochromatic feel of the album's minimalist arrangements. Only "Sången Över Bron," with its woozy piano and banjo accompaniment, and the small handful of songs featuring subtle percussion, double bass, and violin bring much change from the tedium of Dunger's too-samey melodies and arrangements. Unlike the expansive Nicollide & The Carmic Retrebution, a gloriously widescreen album that was the most lavish record Dunger had yet made, Rosten Och Herren is too politely restrained by half.

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