As El Perro del Mar, Sarah Assbring makes deceptively smooth music. She dabbles in disco, R&B and new wave, occasionally punctuating her melodies with dubby production that injects ripples of warmth into the icy, synthesized underpinnings.
But while the rhythms may seem like invitations to dance - or at least sway - the lyrics are almost uniformly bleak, making Pale Fire a late contender for saddest album of the year. Barring the tentatively hopeful Home Is To Feel Like That, Assbring paints a woeful landscape where love is unlikely and we're dancing To The Beat Of A Dying World. (That's actually a song title.)
Breaking from those themes is lilting I Was A Boy. Its hypnotic vocal melody and delicate instrumentation - marimba, wood blocks, a distant bouncing ball - perfectly support the fable-like lyrics.
Top track: I Was A Boy