Tuesday, November 13, 2012

El Perro Del Mar: "Pale Fire" (album review)

Everyone's favorite Swedish singer with a Spanish stage name, Sarah Assbring, a.k.a El Perro Del Mar, has returned with a new studio album, Pale Fire.

It's a far less ethereal affair this time out as beats seem to trump atmosphere.  That's obvious from the title track, where the bold beats are working at cross-purposes from the vocals, overwhelming their usual hypnotic nature.  Likewise, "Home Is To Feel Like That" is a messy and confused hazy swirl.

On occasion the formula does click.  The tumbling rhythms of "Hold Off the Dawn" complement Assbring's vocal delivery to create an intriguing drowsy dance number.  The midtempo "Walk On By" brings the funk for the record's catchiest moment.

At times it seems as though Assbring is trying to emulate compatriot Lykke Li by tending towards darker vibes and tribal rhythms.  As a result, tracks like "I Carry Fire" and "Love In Vain" feel awkward.  However, "Love Confusion" is successful in creating a deliberate, brooding experience.

All is redeemed by the album closer "Dark Night".  The song is the kind of soothing, trance-enducing track that one expects to hear from El Perro Del Mar.

While not a terrible record by any stretch of the imagination, Pale Fire fails to deliver the mesmerizing listening experience that one hopes to get from El Perro Del Mar.

Best tracks: "Dark Night", "Love Confusion"

Track listing for Pale Fire:
  • Pale Fire
  • Hold Off the Dawn
  • Home Is To Feel Like That
  • I Carry the Fire
  • Love Confusion
  • Walk On By
  • Love In Vain
  • To the Beat of a Dying World
  • I Was a Boy
  • Dark Night

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