A greater range of Sarah Assbring’s squeaky-clean vocals and an inventive twist on pop theory pushes El Perro Del Mar’s second release leagues beyond the cheery, stylized pop of her self-titled debut.
“Inner Island” is serene, bringing the thoughtfully articulated “Don’t cast away/ Your inner island” in line with a simply crafted and lush soundscape. “Somebody’s Baby” is a well-rounded, party-perfect jingle, the high point in a collection of melodies that, for the first time, truly communicate the many moods of Assbring.
Stronger, more contemplative feelings are at work here; gone are the sugary la-la-la's and superficial lyrics inserted on cue. A subtle dispatch of Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the capable accompaniment of some of Sweden’s up-and-coming performers have launched El Perro Del Mar further toward a place of her own.
Oh, those Swedes and their sweet music. There's plenty of it to be found on From the Valley to the Stars, the sophomore full-length from El Perro del Mar, the musical project of one Ms. Sarah Assbring. It's the follow-up to El Perro del Mar's 2006 self-titled debut. Assbring is joined on the album by two institutions from her home town, the Gothenburg Symphonic Choir and the Gothenburg Symphonic Orchestra. She says that emotions on the record run the gamut from "deepest despair" to the "wildest childish euphoria."