By El Perro Del Mar
Whilst hardly expecting Swede Sarah Assbring to deliver a death metal album, the prospect of her combining with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra did promise a bigger, lusher sound than previous albums. As it's turned out only one track here, 'Somebody's Baby' comes with the jaunty optimistic pop vibe of, say, 'God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)' from her previous opus.
While this might disappoint the indier side of her fan base, once you've adjusted to the downbeat nature of the songs, the minimal approach pays off after a few listens. The Orchestral players are there, but they've been seemingly told to keep it simple, almost unlearning their craft at times, even the Gothenburg Symphonic Choir are present in a barely there style.
There's a definite religious slant to all this, from the guardian angel on the cover to the church organ on several tracks. Assbring sings throughout in hushed tones as though paying due respect to a hymn. There's even a theme of bereavement and contemplation to the whole album and the in loving memory dedication is perhaps a pointer.
Goldfrapp's latest 'seventh tree' is the closest comparison, it would fit very nicely into the people who bought this also bought this section of any internet shopping guide, the Goldfrapp album perhaps showing how this can be done with a little more style and variation, although this is maybe unfair to the one-woman band aspect of El Perro (the dog of the sea, as far as my Swedish can tell!)
In short, if you're looking for the perfect present for any recently bereaved indie songstress in need of spiritual uplift, look no further.