El Perro Del Mar
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 23:11
El Perro Del Mar layers love, politics, and an eclectic assortment of sounds, one on top of another to create the melancholy dance music of its fifth album, Pale Fire.
The music project El Perro Del Mar was started by its sole member, Sarah Assbring, in Sweden in 2003, but it wasn’t until collaboration with Lykke Li on a single in 2010 that Assbring really began to find herself in the international spotlight. Pale Fire should cause that spotlight to grow.
Pale Fire starts strong with the title track. A brass intro pulls the listener in, creating a base upon which Assbring pours her feathery voice. She adds a simple beat and then builds it up with synthesizers to create a smooth, subdued dance song about finding love in a dark world.
With “I Carry The Fire,” Assbring delves into politics. The song was inspired by the Arab Spring, which is apparent in the stretched out, quivering vocals that start out the track, and her lyrics, “You once had the power, now I carry the fire.” The juxtaposition of oddly timed beats, on top of steady rhythm, chimes, and synthesizer, creates a complex and angular sound that will intrigue the listener.
“Love In Vain” brings reggae to the album, rather unsuccessfully. Assbring’s soft voice is an uncomfortable contrast to the stilted sound of the synthesizer and reggae beat.
Throughout the album, Pale Fire carries an ethereal thread, created by Assbring’s whispering voice layered over itself, to create what is almost a chant, and building upon that with a synthesizer and various other instruments. Assbring pulls all this together to create an audio dystopia that can put a smile on the listener’s face.