A brooding ballad, with both regret and heartfelt yearning to connect
Why You Should Care:
Sweden’s Sarah Assbring, who records under the name El Perro Del Mar, has been putting out frequently tearful and sometimes unexpectedly joyous synthesizer-driven singer-songwriter pop since 2006. In recent years, her exploration into the sounds of Asia and the Middle East, as in the 2016 album KoKoro, provided new textures to a musical palette that was rooted in 60s pop ballads. The recent EP We Are History shows Assbring in a brooding mode, with dark synths and the hint of a gamelan in “Mirrors.” Remember when Dead Can Dance reached pop audiences with Into the Labyrinth? El Perro Del Mar seems to be moving in a similar direction, but on a shoestring budget.
Assbring has become a strong visual artist, and the new video for “Mirrors” plays on generational identity and connection among women. The weakest element of El Perro Del Mar’s music has always been the simplicity of her English lyrics. Assbring tends to fixate on a chorus and repeat it, and “Mirrors” is no exception. But she finds power in simple but evocative phrasing: “I know it’s messed up, I know it’s not right / but I want to try, I want to try.” El Perro Del Mar has been exploring the nuances of emotional connection and distance for a long time now, but she keeps finding new angles.