In 2004, El Perro Del Mar was pretty much only known to the outside world as that singer who shared a split 7″ with Jens Lekman. Thankfully, things have changed in the past decade, and Sarah Assbring (her real name) has released a handful of wonderful, critically acclaimed and challenging records. One of her very first releases (her second if I am not mistaken) was a Christmas CD-R on the Swedish Hybris label. Limited to 200 copies, this CD-R had a fantastic A-side in “Oh What a Christmas!” and an equally enjoyable B-side with “Shake it Off.” Only one of those tunes was Christmas-related, I’ll leave it to you to guess.
“Oh What a Christmas!” has since become somewhat of an indie-christmas classic, showing up on the wonderful It’s Not Like Christmas… and of course, countless 8tracks mixes. This attention is well deserved, as the song is pretty wonderful – the music harkens back to the drum beat of 60’s pop, while layering on her ever-so-distinctive vocals to create a great 3 minutes of Swedish retro-pop. Of note, in 2009, she dipped her toes back into season fare with Auld Lang Syne – and really puts the El Perro Del Mar stamp on that old chestnut as well.
Bottom Line: If you aren’t turned off by her voice to start with, then this song is likely for you. 4.5/5