Mar 01, 2013 Issue #44 - Best of 2012 - Grimes
Back in 2007, an indie hit came out of nowhere and from an unlikely source. Disco Romance, released that year in North America, was the debut album from the Swedish duo of producer Johan Agebjörn and a reclusive singer going by the pseudonym Sally Shapiro. Disco Romance also introduced (or reintroduced, if you were the savvy dance-minded type) the populace to Italo disco, an electronic dance music that became popular across Europe in the mid-1980s. To audiences in 2007, Sally Shapiro's particular brand of twee pop set to electronic beats was refreshing, and the duo went on to release the equally excellent, albeit somewhat less buzz-worthy My Guilty Pleasure in 2009. Since then, Agebjörn went on to release a solo electronic album under his own name, but Sally Shapiro remained out of the limelight. So it comes as something of a surprise that, seemingly out of nowhere again, comes the duo's third album, Somewhere Else.
Somewhere Else is largely a more chilled-out affair than its predecessors. While previous albums bounced with hooky pop jubilance, undercut with disco beats, much of Somewhere Else exists in what sounds like the hours after the party. Songs such as "Sundown" and "This City's Local Italo Disco DJ Has a Crush On Me" sound like the comedown from the all-nighter, and "What Can I Do" has a certain calming, lullaby quality. In the album's second half, Sally Shapiro collaborates with some outside artists, and this is where the mood changes slightly. "Don't Be Afraid (Alternative Version)," a collaboration with French producer/DJ Anoraak that is featured in different form on Anoraak's 2010 debut Wherever the Sun Sets, features a bouncy, clicking backdrop that nicely showcases Shapiro's vocals in a more upbeat presentation. "Architectured Love," a collaboration with Stockholm's Le Prix, is enhanced by a certain haunted feeling. While the whole of Somewhere Else represents a very welcome return, it is these last tracks that show Sally Shapiro really branching out.
Author rating: 6.5/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
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