Stare deeply into the eyes of Sarah Assbring (aka El Perro Del Mar) throughout her drear, five-minute hum of "I Was A Boy".
El Perro del Mar
("The Sea Dog") is the nom de musique of Sarah Assbring
, a Swedish pop thrush whose recordings are glorious aural confections that combine Brill Building pop and the influences of Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach, and Smokey Robinson with lyrics that speak with a sweet, ineffable sadness of the pitfalls of love and life. According to Assbring, the name El Perro del Mar came to her during an ill-fated vacation in Spain; she was alone, depressed, and out of sorts when a stray dog came up to her while she sat on the beach, and the dog's efforts to bond with her inspired her to express her feelings through songwriting. Assbring began recording her new songs on her own, playing most of the instruments herself as well as singing, and in late 2006 Sweden's Hybris label issued her debut release, a three-song EP. The EP earned enthusiastic reviews and respectable sales, and Assbring's next project was a split single with Jens Lekman, released in North America by the prestigious indie label Secretly Canadian. A second EP, 2005's You Gotta Give to Get
, was a hit in Sweden, thanks in part to a charming animated video for the title tune, and the disc helped spread the word about her music in England and the United States. Later that year, Hybris compiled El Perro del Mar's single sides and EPs into an album, Look! It's el Perro del Mar!
; then, El Perro del Mar
, a mostly reworked version of that first release, was issued in the U.K. by Memphis Industries in the fall of 2006, with an American version from The Control Group following shortly afterward. All of this was enough to get the singer signed to her fellow Swedes the Concretes' label, Licking Fingers, and she soon began working on new material. From the Valley to the Stars
, her second full-length album of new material, arrived in early 2008. - allmusic.com
Shortly after having finished touring with my second album From the Valley to the Stars I started writing new songs. For some reason all the songs were about love and in particular that of the doomed kind. Unconsciously I think I knew what I was trying to tell myself. I'd spent some bad times in New York and some good times in Paris and both these cities have made a great imprint on this album and my current outlook on love. I've decided to call it Love Is Not Pop - the songs on the album are all pop songs and they are all about love. But naturally, it is not all as simple as that. As much as pop can be love and vice versa - I'd like to believe that love goes so much deeper than a pop song. The title is of course also a play with words as well as a play with my persona up until this point. This album is also very much a way for me to look further into ways of writing and expressing myself - it definitely is a conscious step away from what I did on my last album. The mindset is darker and the soundscape mysteriously groovy thus it is not by chance I've chosen to work together with Rasmus Hgg, the other half of the acclaimed Swedish duo Studio, as a co-producer. His input and source of inspiration have been no other than a pure revelation to me. Working so closely together with someone has been a new experience for me and I feel excited about having come to the point where I've been wanting to let someone into the very much abstract and intimate process of song writing. I'm glad it was Rasmus I let in. - El Perro Del Mar/Sarah Assbring