Swedish heartthrob returns with classy ’60s homage
We already knew that Nicolai Dunger had a sensitive heart, an ear for perfect melodies, and the husky but wavering voice of a man who’d chop wood for us all afternoon and then pour out his feelings over a roast-quail dinner. And with the U.S. release of Here’s My Song…, he’s back to charm us again. Compared to his last two discs—the exhilarating Soul Rush, and Tranquil Isolation, with its masterful Americana—Here’s My Song… feels more polite and more submissive to its ’60s-pop-folk sources (particularly Van Morrison). It tends to drift in its second half, especially on the endless “The Year of the Love and Hurt Cycle.” But backing band Mercury Rev matches Dunger’s growl whenever he asks, and the mellower arrangements are impeccable and classy. In his case, gruff charm still goes a long way.