Hecuba slides into my mind and gets so comfortable there, I start to wonder if I made them up. Their music tastes of reality. Surreal, funny, and serious. The outlandish is simplified by the particular. At my best “I’m so blah blah blah,” and nothing sums it up like a trip to Paradise.
On this night, Hecuba summoned to Hotel Cafe with tales about food and babes in Estonia, and a super intriguing music video by El Perro Del Mar starring two overly-tan strong men who call themselves The Golden Power. The men lift each other like magnets, often moving very slowly, trailing sparkles. The song, “Change Of Heart,” showcases El Perro Del Mar’s best features: relaxed, classy, romantic vocals and a stylish moonlit mood. Despite the title, all the songs Sarah Assbring wrote for album Love Is Not Pop sound a lot like “love pop.” Living for love, sacrificing for love, love for breakfast, love for dinner, lovey love love—which she explains on her website:
I knew from the beginning I was going to do an album of love songs but as I was far from in an amorous state of mind at the time I realized, I couldn’t write anything that would be pretending I still believed in love. I wanted to though. Desperately. And upon reading the lyrics to “Heavenly Arms” I realized he’d find the way to express this dark and desperate fight for love to survive against all odds. Although time and space had come between it – you keep fighting for it until the end.
Overall slower and less dancey than fellow Swede Lykke Li’s music (they have a split 7 inch**), but the two share temperament and a keen fashion sense. I was surprised and delighted when Lykke Li emerged at Hotel Cafe and sang back-up on “Change Of Heart.” She sang high and snapped her fingers. I wished for a latte in a cool ceramic cup, imagining the Cafe’s brick walls became side streets.
Opener Hecuba’s performance peaked on the red-curtained stage several times. Isabelle Albuquerque was asked to please stop climbing the house piano. A man ate a piece of cake and the lanterns shivered above. I dug a new song about modern, upbeat, love (“You keep me modern, You keep my upbeat…” that crescendos maniacally into laughter, and a few interludes—one about touching and feeling, “I just want you so bad…”
It was a evening full of love songs.
**The split 7 inch contains El Perro Del Mar covering Isley Brothers/Aaliyah’s “At Your Best (You Are Love)” and Lykke Li’s version of Wendy René’s “After Laughter.”