"In this world, you think you have no reason to believe in love or in anything much. Then one day, when you least expect it, a light appears on the far horizon. It's a flickering light, begging you to come, telling you to stay away. It's the pale fire. The promise of love and hope - all consuming and elusive. Yet for a moment, it brings clarity in the darkness, future to the ruins and power to the fight" - El Perro Del Mar. These eloquent few sentences are a description from the Swedish songstress Sarah Assbring, aka El Perro Del Mar, of the concept behind her new release, Pale Fire, that swells with themes of love and loss.
The album floats along melodically with a down tempo dance vibe that is strongly influenced by 90's trip-hop and house, and is accented perfectly with Assbring's ethereal, sighing vocals that stay haunting throughout the LP. The quality and thoughtfulness in the album shines through, which might have something to do with Assbring sitting comfortably in the producers chair once again, and makes Pale Fire her most captivating release to date. With three previous releases under her sleeves – from her early DIY releases, which included collaborations with Jens Lekman, her 2009 album Love Is Not a Pop Album and recent releases with Lykke Li - Assbring is not a newcomer to the music scene and that is reflected in the maturity that this album exhibits.
The first single released for streaming from Pale File is 'Walk On By', a song which encapsulates the aura of the album to a tee, with lyrics that encompasses themes of loss and keeping your head up in the face of misery. The opening line from the song, which includes swathes of trip-hop in its sound, starts with a quote from drag artist Dorien Corey that is delivered in Jennie Livingston's documentary Paris Is Burning. El Perro Del Mar recites the melancholic, but uplifting quote, "Solitude's my best friend, the one who sees me cry. Tells me I will never need another man to keep my head up and walk on by," with an airy quality that is consistent throughout the album. 'Hold Off The Dawn', 'I Carry The Fire' and 'Love In Vain' are other songs from Pale Fire that exude ethereal vocals; floating on a base of calypso-house infused beauty, creating the highlights of an irresistibly hazy album.
Sarah Assbring has managed to hone and streamline her sound in El Perro Del Mar's fourth studio album Pale Fire, arriving at a record that is a well produced collection of dreamy, yet completely unforgettable tunes that exhibit her maturity in both sound and lyrical content.