El Perro Del Mar From The Valley To The Stars(Memphis Industries) Buy it from Insound
Swedish songstress Sarah Assbring aka El Perro Del Mar has never seemed like the most cheerful of souls. 2006’s El Perro Del Mar was filled with downbeat lyrics and sad tunes, but it also featured a few flickers of light to offset the dark in the shape of girl-group harmonies, vintage pop stylings and songs about going to buy candy. It was an engaging listen, one that slowly coaxed you in to its miserable world and even made you feel like staying. From The Valley To The Stars, while full of worthy songs and some cracking couplets, is less successful for the most glaringly simple of reasons: as an album, it’s just not that enjoyable to listen to.
The problem is chiefly in the pacing, or to be more accurate, the lack of anything representing a change of pace. Individually, the compositions are actually pretty inspired. Glory to the World moves at a funereal pace, Assbring barely has to bother singing, and the melody’s almost childlike in its simplicity, yet it’s genuinely heartbreaking. The same applies to You Can’t Steal A Gift and How Did We Forget, so much so that listening to all three in succession actually has a detrimental effect.
Fans of the album have used terms like ‘cohesiveness’ and ‘uniformity’, but I’m not buying it. From The Valley To The Stars is simply a collection of mostly good and occasionally great songs that just doesn’t quite work as a whole. I’m not asking Sarah Assbring to cheer up, I like her just the way she is, but what I would like to see next time is a bit more variety and just a few tempo changes. It's not too much to ask is it?7 June, 2008 - 05:19 — David Coleman