Recorded in 2003 and sitting in limbo until now, former Swedish soccer sensation Nicolai Dunger’s latest album is finally up and out thanks to the Zoe/Rounder A&R department. Now it’s only a matter of time before the lengthily titled set replaces Ray Lamontagne’s “Trouble” as the best album Van Morrison never made.
Conspired in the wake of a brutal breakup, “Here’s My Song” is an intense, intricate and highly personal concept piece. Pain hemorrhages from Dunger’s bluesy, Buckley-esque vocal delivery, punctuated by his incredible gift for lyricism. You almost feel guilty for actually listening to some of these songs, especially the brooding “Someone New” and the epic “The Year of the Love and Hurt Cycle,” which come off as though they shouldn’t have been heard by anyone but his ex.
Furthermore, Dunger continues to rejuvenate the art of the super session by having recorded with members of Mercury Rev. Just as good as his venture with Will Oldham (“Tranquil Isolation”) and a thousand times better than his thing with fellow Swedes the Soundtrack Of Our Lives (“This Cloud Is Learning”), Dunger and the Rev come together like they’ve been jamming for years. — Ron Hart