Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
To The Beat Of A Dying World
Review of El Perro Del Mar’s Pale Fire
Memphis IndustriesIt’s been interesting tracking the musical evolution of El Perro Del Mar, the musical project of Sweden’s Sarah Assbring. Her 2006 self-titled debut cast her as the mournful ghost of a ’50s doo-wop girl while the 2008 follow-up From The Valley To The Stars invited fuller arrangements into the mix – even getting jaunty at points – while keeping the sentiments beautifully downcast. 2009’s Love Is Not Pop was took great strides towards feeling more modern, mostly via studio-slick musical arrangements, and while surprisingly short compared to Valley – seven tracks versus its predecessor’s 16 – assuming that that the three dancey remixes appended as bonus tracks to the US edition were just filler would have been a mistake; they were more of a signpost.
In the three years between that release and her fourth album Pale Fire, Assbring seems to have completed the transition from old-school chanteuse to dance diva and also invested in a lot of keyboards in the process. Pale Fire is an unabashedly synthetic record, built on beats and loops and existing in a haze, sounding largely like a remix album of a more conventional work. Assbring’s retro stylings have been wholly subsumed by the dedication to the groove, but her signature sadness is still detectable – it seems the dancefloor isn’t necessarily any less lonely a place than one’s bedroom.
Assbring doesn’t have the sort of voice one would typically associate with dance music – it’s not an especially powerful or sensual instrument – but it’s that dissonance that helps Pale Fire stand out from the current crop of electro-pop, and when when Pale Fire reverts to a more traditional sonic form, as on “I Was A Boy”, the other would-be peers just fall away. Given the number of guises that Assbring has donned over the course of her career, it’d be presumptuous to think that Assbring will dwell in Pale Fire‘s aesthetic for too long, but it does feel like the end of the transformation that she’s been undertaking since Valley; maybe she’ll keep it on for a little while.
The Line Of Best Fit note that Icona Pop’s self-titled debut will be released in their native Sweden as soon as next week, November 14. A worldwide release will follow next year. They open up for Marina & The Diamonds at The Kool Haus on December 1.
Those who’ve been following along with Sigur Rós’ Valtari Mystery Film Experient and wish they could see the works on a bigger screen may be interested to know that a goodly number of the films – at least 17 – are being compiled and taken on the road for some worldwide screenings over the course of a weekend in December. Toronto gets ours on December 8 at The Bloor.
And if that’s not enough Scandi-music film action for you, 4AD has released some details on The Ghost Of Piramida, a film that documents Efterklang’s visit to the abandoned Russian town of Piramida, from which their latest album drew inspiration and its name.
Foals have confirmed the February 12 release of their next record Holy Fire with the release of the first video from the record.
Video: Foals – “Inhaler”