# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

El Perro Del Mar - From the Valley to the Stars

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 1 / 6 / 2008

El Perro Del Mar - From the Valley to the Stars
Label: Memphis Industries
Format: CD


Sparse, immaculate-sounding third album from El Perro Del Mar, the moniker of Swedish chanteuse Sarah Assbring, which somewhat overtly downbeat, does not quite match up to the heights of her well-received eponymous second album

Memphis Industries – home to Tokyo Police Club, Dungen and The Go! Team – have a winner on their hands with El Perro Del Mar. The recording moniker of Sarah Assbring, the Swedish chanteuse's records are dedicated to her ranging aural ability – which flits the between sun drenched optimism of Brian Wilson and the love lost nihilism of which Nico made sporadic use. With her self-titled second album album – which translates to The Sea Dog – Assbring scored a major underground hit. Her macabre, whispered tracks, along with an innate ability to convey poignancy and emotion in her work – albeit in a controlled and minimal style – bought her acclaim, and raised interest in this, her third LP. While filled with loneliness and despair, 'El Perro Del Mar'is enigmatic and engaging - sharing the depth of emotion we have all felt but have been unable to put into words, rather than wallowing in indulgent sentiment. This time, however, there are fragments of light among the shadows. While 'From the Valley to the Stars' is a more cohesive and collected album – but once again it is a solitary listen; suited to late nights while the rain pours, rather than an evening with friends. Only twice does Assbring offer up some sultry excitement – on both 'Into the Sunshine' and 'Somebody's Baby' Assbring lets loose and ventures toward let go of the morose heartbeat that defines the album to accelerate, infused with swing and flair as to separate themselves totally from the album. With the majority of the album however, it is El Perro Del Mar's voice which dominates. Assbring takes centre stage on each track, flexing her sparse vocals and often repeating them to become a mantra. Opening number 'Jubilee' see the title and a single other word wrapped in her voice and spun around and round before gently drifting out to sea. It sets the tone for the album as a whole; underpinned by organ with small flourishes of woodwind, horn and percussion. Nothing is wasted on the album, arranged as it is in immaculate order, such as to achieve the maximum emotional impact from the minimum of resources. Repetition has a strong role on the album. With 'Do Not Despair', one of the strongest tracks, Assbring sings "Don't cast inner island" and "Today's gone to bed and tomorrow's unmade", accompanying this with organ and birdsong. In this case it works. The smallest of building blocks transformed to make some beautiful and majestic. In others this technique fails. For example 'You Belong to the Sky' sounds akin to an Aphex Twin or Board of Canada outtake, offering little and expecting nothing. At her best El Perro Del Mar sounds as though she has the weight of the world on her shoulders and is baring the load well. At her worst she allows this weight to drag her down, out of sight. For those most part though her voice alone carries the load. The embellishment is spare, but precise, rewarding, if not uplifting.

Track Listing:-
1 Jubilee
2 Glory To The World
3 You Can't Steal A Gift
4 How Did We Forget?
5 Inside The Golden Egg
6 To Give Love
7 Inner Island
8 Do Not Despair
9 Somebody's Baby
10 The Sun Is An Old Friend
11 Happiness Won Me Over
12 From The Valley To The Stars
13 You Belong To The Sky Now
14 Into The Sunshine
15 Someday I'll Understand (Love Will Be My Mirror)
16 Your Name Is Neverending

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