Release Date: Apr 22, 2008
Record label: Control Group
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
There are singers who can put over a sad song, there are singers who project melancholy, and then there are those who seem possessed of an elemental darkness deep within their souls. Sarah Assbring of El Perro del Mar is one of these. On her previous singles and album (2006's self-titled affair), Assbring convincingly, crushingly bled sadness -- in the music and the words, but most of all in her fragile and haunted vocals.
A greater range of Sarah Assbring’s squeaky-clean vocals and an inventive twist on pop theory pushes El Perro Del Mar’s second release leagues beyond the cheery, stylized pop of her self-titled debut. “Inner Island” is serene, bringing the thoughtfully articulated “Don’t cast away/ Your inner island” in line with a simply crafted and lush soundscape. “Somebody’s Baby” is a well-rounded, party-perfect jingle, the high point in a collection of melodies that, for the first time, truly communicate the many moods of Assbring.
Swedish songstress Sarah Assbring aka El Perro Del Mar has never seemed like the most cheerful of souls. 2006’s El Perro Del Mar was filled with downbeat lyrics and sad tunes, but it also featured a few flickers of light to offset the dark in the shape of girl-group harmonies, vintage pop stylings and songs about going to buy candy. It was an engaging listen, one that slowly coaxed you in to its miserable world and even made you feel like staying.
In retrospect, the beautiful sheen of Sarah Assbring’s first album had a lot to do with simplicity. If the notion of it seemed complicated – although it probably wasn’t complicated, just unexpected – it was at least very clear what it was: a heartbroken soul record for the modern set, what one likes to imagine Motown would have sounded like if Detroit were in Sweden. Its songs were fully formed, its arrangements vivid and cozy.