Music » Critics' Picks

El Perro del Mar

8 p.m. Friday, November 13. The Gargoyle, on the campus of Washington University, One Brookings Drive.



For all of its billowing synth pads, perfectly pitched harmonies, studio punctiliousness and Swedish sex appeal, El Perro del Mar remains the anti-ABBA. The 2009 release Love Is Not Pop furthers Sarah Assbring's deconstruction of pop and indie-folk forms — the melodies linger, the grooves float, the themes sigh — but a sonic laboratory of dubby delay and electronic glimmer and glitch catalyzes her songs. Mood pieces such as "Let Me In" and "It Is Something (to Have Wept)" — the latter featuring a lyrical assist from writer G.K. Chesterton — languidly unfold and gather malevolent momentum, like a carefree club hop devolving into icy, down-tempo, noir remixes. Though Assbring still sings with coy sensuality, all traces of twee have dissolved into gloriously disturbing and intricate sonic details. Love is not pop, and neither exactly is El Perro del Mar.

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