New record from international pop heroine El Perro Del Mar. KoKoro is full of life and love, with significant use of sound palettes from the Asian subcontinent. Musicians on the album include Johan Berthling (of Fire! and Tape) and Robyn collaborator Per Johansson. The CD and vinyl editions are released by Ging Ging Records: if you hurry, you might land one of the limited coloured LPs.
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El Perro del Mar is Gothenburg’s Sarah Assbring. Yup. KoKoro is already her fifth album and a bit of the departure from the melancholic indie-pop she started making just over 12 years ago. In fact, she seems to have mutated a happy indie-popster who is influenced by music from the Asian sub-continent. She says she has been "listening only to Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Indian pop music for the last three years.” That explains that then.
Arabic strings introduce the opening track ‘Endless Ways’ which is punctuated by ululation amongst the winding melodies. There are Sumatran rhythms juxtaposed against the slightly twee prettiness of the title track, and what I assume is the Chinese string instrument Guzheng all over the bouncy ‘Breadandbutter’. It’s all starting to sound like a more ear-stroking and feminine version of Animal Collective. Which is no bad thing, obviously. It can tend to get a bit hyperactive at times, with Sarah’s sugar-sweet vocal only highlighting the saccharine aspect of it all. ‘Clean Your Window’ goes at a fair old lick, and I’m starting to feel dizzy.
‘Kouign-Amman’ is a sort of stripped-back ‘60s Spector-helmed girl-group tune hybridised by J-pop with traditional Eastern instrumentation. There’s a flute-and-gamelan jam in ‘A-Bun-Dance’. Hah. I see what Assbring did there. ‘Hard Soft Hard’ is a gorgeous slice of dreamy pop. There’s even a soft poke at Capitalism, on ‘Ding Sum’: “Listen, you got robbed / But it’s not your fault.” Hmm. True. Mostly though, it’s light-hearted, jaunty pop. Sometimes vertiginously so.
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