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El Perro Del Mar – [Album]

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Friday, 23 May 2008

El Perro Del Mar creates an echoy, intimate place outside of time on their new CD, From the Valley to the Stars, appropriate for an album inspired by the concept of Heaven. Entirely self-produced and self-recorded by Sarah Assbring in her hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden, the album tells a quiet, mostly forlorn tale about love, loss and loneliness through a deconstructed Wall of Sound.

Assbring is not alone in expressing herself with these broken music box versions of '60s pop gems. She is among artists and fellow countrymen Jens Lekman, The Concretes and others who seem to have an enduring fascination with the simplicity and joy of '60s pop—songs from people like Dusty Springfield, Al Green, Petula Clark and everything produced by Phil Spector. The music seems to have been like a ray of light in a deep cave to them; both a welcome relief from the darkness and a reminder that some people somewhere get to live their whole lives in this sunshine.

Their songs are sad tales told happily and happy tales told sadly. The album's 16 tracks, almost none of them longer than three minutes, are all very fine examples of bedroom pop. Their simple lyrics and melodies all sound like they could be made by a girl with a Casio, a 4-track and a few winter afternoons to fill, which they were, more or less. It's a record that evokes big-time emotions without too much actually going on, like simple line drawings powerfully represent their subjects, or like the hallucinations supposedly brought on by sensory deprivation or chanting.

"How Did We Forget" plays like the Ronnettes on quaaludes. "There's Still Time" is perhaps the most Magnetic Fields-influenced track on a record that has a lot of them. "Inner Island" sounds like Lavendar Diamond meets Animal Collective. A pair of tracks towards the end of the album remind this listener fondly of the soundtrack to later Nintendo games, like Crystalis, that were all about honor and virtue, something one imagines Ms. Assbring would not mind.

In the end, From the Valley to the Stars is a record that evokes a lot from the listener without a lot of fanfair. It borders on being too small, musically, but in the end it's just the right size to get inside your chest and give your heart a good squeeze.

Download – "Glory to the World" from From the Valley to the Stars [mp3]

For more information visit www.elperrodelmar.com or myspace.com/elperrodelmar

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