El Perro del Mar El Perro del Mar

El Perro del Mar El Perro del Mar
Every once in a while a voice comes along that makes everything else about the music unintentionally minor. Gothenburg, Sweden native Sarah (no surname) found hers — a rare vocal on par with Kate Bush and Julee Cruise — pondering on a beach in Spain, when a friendly dog appeared and became her muse. Taking the moniker El Perro Del Mar in tribute to the mystery pooch, Sarah writes her songs as though they were girl group anthems of the ’60s. The only difference is Sarah doesn’t hide her heartbreak behind Phil Spector’s wall of sound or the cheerful Motown sheen. Instead the songs wring out of her achingly heartfelt sorrow in a barebones style. The arrangements don’t traverse far from the aforementioned 40-year-old pop acts in spirit, but El Perro Del Mar is about purity and intimacy, so Sarah uses vitally organic instrumentation: handclaps, acoustic guitars and an organ so immaculate it’s presumably hallowed. The only exceptions to this rule are the devastating "I Can’t Talk About It” and the curiously placed, horn-laced finale "Here Comes That Feeling” — both of which provide an almost upbeat tempo that could shock an unsuspecting club. El Perro Del Mar bypasses Sweden’s glut of shiny pop and boisterous garage rock for a sound that proves the one-time "suicide capital of the world” tag that once stuck with the country is still pertinent. Scandinavian grief has never felt as good as this. (Memphis Industries)