Sarah Assbring almost follows in the suit of Chan Marshal,
an amazing one woman show with a great alias to hide behind. El
Perro Del Mar, meaning the sea dog, is Sarah Assbring's chosen
stage name. Like the sea, her voice is beautiful and cool, but
in its beauty remains very blue. The timbre is unusual, but still
pleasant to the ear. The paintbrush that is her voice paints images
using soft strokes while the colors she uses are somber tones.
On a whole, the self-titled album has a bittersweet sound.
Assbring's voice rings out with a sort of saddened urgency while
a chorus of voices provides support. The main vocal line almost
sounds as if she recorded the album right before she was due
for a good cry. The background voices provide a nice medium
between solitude and a breath of freshness.
Much of the album has influences drawn from a late fifties/early
sixties standard pop song. Background voices ooh and aah and mix
in the occasional sha la la la. The song "Party" even
features a chorus of "be bop, be bop be lou lah." Assbring's
voice, however, does not make these traits sound cheesy or ultra
poppy. Instead, her sullen voice, filled to the brim with melancholy,
adds flair to the background vocals. She manipulates this classic
characteristic and makes it conform to what she wants. The doo
wops behind her, in the end, seem to echo the same despondency
that the main vocal line carries.
From track to track, there is a common theme of sadness, and
this is exemplified more in the repetitiveness of not only the
lyrics, but also the musical structure. These songs are constructed
in a very simple sense. The layers are there, but few. While more
often than not, repetitiveness, not only musically, but also lyrically,
is often constituted as poor artistry; in this rare case, it works.
Her loneliness which she discusses in the track "This Loneliness"
embodies her style in the sense that her feelings and emotions
are in their purest form. "This Loneliness ain't pretty no
more/ Loneliness only taking the place of a friend." These
lyrics are clear; she's lonely, and loneliness is the only friend
she has. This clear cut idea works in tandem with the orchestration.
It's apparent what she's feeling and she doesn't need to have
fancy ornamentation. The idea is basic, and as a result the music
is, too. El Perro Del Mar is simple, melancholy, and beautiful.
2. God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)
6. I Can't Talk About It
7. Coming Down the Hill
8. This Loneliness
9. It's All Good
10. Here Comes That Feeling
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