Doe-eyed Swede Sarah Assbring returns with her third studio album under her alter ego El Perro Del Mar. Love is Not Pop
encapsulates (from an American point of view anyway) the Swedish inability to ever really sound melancholy. Even throughout her most discerning musings, Assbring treads with her head above the sugar water, mourning with viscous buoyancy, sweetly singing "we both know its better to partso go on, go on". Isn't there some statistic about the Swedes being the happiest people on Earth? Or was that the highest suicide rate per capita, hmm I can't remember...
Either way, there is a definite new edge to this album in comparison to her earlier discography, and I believe that's due, partially to personal and musical maturity, but mostly to the addition of the album's co-producer Rasmus Hgg, otherwise known as half of the electro-outfit, Studio. Hgg's edgier presence is definitely noticeable, either as the underlying stitching or a sudden splash of the funky synth puddle. The first single off the album, "Change of Heart" is a musical incarnation of the very word groovy, backed with warped disco strings and sleepy reverberations; a clear marriage of the two production minds. "Heavenly Arms" and "I Gotta Get Smart" are two more stand outs, covering a bright-on-a-cloudy-day soundscape that seems to dominate the album.
Love is Not Pop
dropped on October 20th by The Control Group, and since then El Perro has been touring around the US with Peter, Bjorn, & John. Layered with dream pop, syth drenched twee, and snatches of a bleaker core, this album may not change your life, but its pleasant, thoughtful, and wistful prettiness makes Love is Not Pop
is worth a listen (or two or three). - amelia trask