Sarah Assbring somehow makes being a singer/songwriter seem easy. More often than not, these artists struggle for years trying to break through and get noticed. That’s not to say that Assbring or should I say El Perro Del Mar hasn’t worked tremendously hard to get to where she is now, it just means that her rise appears effortless and is enviable.
Of course, having talent helps.
And El Perro Del Mar seems to have lots of it. Her self-titled debut album (U.S. version) was a compilation of sorts from her many self-released unofficial EPs, as well as her official label released EPs. Far from being stitched together, El Perro Del Mar almost fluidly combined angelic harmonies with creepy lyricisms.
Understandably, the album lacked some cohesion, and that’s partly because the songs (to a point) weren’t made to be with one another. It’s mouthwatering to think about an EPDM album conceived to be whole.
From The Valley To The Stars doesn’t disappoint and proves that Assbring, in her honest and fearless approach to her music, is more mature and more talented than most. She returns with her angelic harmonies and creepy lyricisms, but she’s also included a flare of experimentation, as seen in the short track times. She never wants to stay in any one moment for too long, but never strays too far from the previous one.
The fluidity in this sophomore album is remarkable in that even entire tracks can be heard without the slightest hint of them being different tracks, and even some (“Inside The Golden Egg” and “You Belong To The Sky Now”) without having Assbring’s vocals.
One of the beauties of From The Valley To The Stars is Assbring’s non-reluctance to always be singing. She puts the music front and center, and she only enters when she needs to, sometimes in the form of simply accentuating the melodies (“Jubilee”).
But she accentuates the melodies even when she sings because of how complimentary her vocals are to the instrumentals, especially with the flutes in “Glory To The World,” the synths in the title track, and the static hum in “Inner Island.”
I can’t help but feel equally uplifted and depressed because of the polarity of El Perro Del Mar’s music. In one instance, it can sound heavenly, and in the other, it can sound downright gloomy. In that case, I’d say the album title was in the ballpark.