Tuesday, June 20, 2006

EL PERRO DEL MAR: El Perro Del Mar

EL PERRO DEL MAR: El Perro Del Mar (Memphis Industries, 2006)

"Come on over baby, there's a party going on"

Sometimes, a record feels just right. Right place, right time, right mood… right everything really.

I picked up this album from El Perro Del Mar at work recently, simply because it was released on Memphis Industries, and it has been on my desk ever since… I decided to play it this morning, and what a bright idea that was!

El Perro Del Mar is the project of Swedish singer songwriter Sarah Assbring. The name, which translates as 'The Dog Of The Sea', is, according to Assbring’s biography, a reference to the time she spent on a Spanish island, when she kept seeing a dog everyday on the beach. This apparently got her writing the songs that she’d been dreaming of for years.

This eponymous collection of sun-drenched songs is rather deceptive. Although the mood is laidback and the sixties-infused melodies are reminiscent of the sugarcoated pop of Siesta Records, there is something sombre lurking in the background, a gentle melancholy which lingers all the way through. The orchestration is more than often understated, with delicate swathes of strings drawing subtle shapes in the background while acoustic guitars provide the main backbone for Assbring’s breezy vocals. The melodies are deceptively simple and elegant; the voice is fragile and acidulated, sounding like a cross between Françoise Hardy, Sarah Cracknell and fellow Swede Nina Persson of The Cardigans, and the mood keeps on drawing on images of sunsets and holiday on the Riviera.

Sarah Assbring

Everything here is perfect. Each melody is crafted to the hilt and presented in a wonderfully evocative form. Each word, each note, each handclap is utterly essential. There is a certain element of desperation in there, as if life itself depended on whether these songs worked or not. This is the kind of records I could play 20 times in a row and still gag for more; the kind of albums you instantly fall in love and always keep close to your heart. The kinf of albums that makes you which everything sounded this mighty fine.

Highlights: God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get), Party, Dog, This Loneliness, Here Comes That Feeling.

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