El Perro del Mar Pale Fire

5
While Swedish chanteuse Sarah Assbring has never managed to recapture the magic of her eponymous debut as El Perro Del Mar, she's always been able to create special moments that suggest the magic could return. Album number four, Pale Fire, continues that trend with a spotty mix of inspired, dreamy pop and bland, forgettable tunes. Pale Fire finds Assbring shifting further into the electronic realm, like a sleepy Lykke Li meets an even sleepier Grimes. There's no doubt that she has some good ideas, but they're spread very thin. The main problem is that as she makes the transition to beat-driven songs she loses much of her musical personality. Her vocals sound distant and detached, and while it does work on some numbers, such as the sublime title track, all too often they simply blend into the many synthetic layers. This fire is barely smouldering, let alone burning bright. (Control Group)