Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Album Reviews: Somewhere Else by Sally Shapiro

Sally Shapiro hit the scene in 2007 with their album, Disco Romance. I stumbled upon Sally Shapiro in 2009 when they came out with their second album My Guilty Pleasure. My Guilty Pleasure was my album of the year in 2009, and is still a go to album for me. It is on its way to becoming a five star album for me. So as you can imagine I was quite excited to hear their latest album.

The band consists of two people, singer Sally Shapiro (pseudonym) and writer/producer Johan Agebjörn. Living in Sweden they both shared a love for a genre of music referred to as Italo Disco. If like me you have never heard of Italo Disco it is a musical movement that occurred in the early 80's in Italy and across Europe. As disco was dying in the United States it was still hot in Europe. But there was no new music coming out of the States so Europeans started producing their own take on US disco.

Check out this sample of music on youtube.

Anyhow Shapiro and Agebjörn teamed up to produce their modern take on Italo Disco in 2007. What I find interesting about their take on Italo Disco is it reminds me of another movement that was taking place in the early 80's. At the death of disco at the explosion of punk you got the birth of post-punk. I've talked about that here before and in the late 2000's there was a big resurgance in the post-punk sound. So though Sally Shapiro has its roots in Italo Disco, I think they borrowed pretty heavily from post-punk artists like Young Marble Giants.

In 2009 with My Guilty Pleasure, Sally Shapiro pretty much hit the perfect mark on pairing these sounds together. With their third album Somewhere Else they wanted to try to expand their feel a bit. Problem with a band like Sally Shapiro is that what they have works very well and so they don't want to stray too far from their sound. They do it, they enjoy it, their fans enjoy it and it's what they want. The trouble of course is making slight enough changes that each album has a different feel and the band can continue to stay interested in what they are doing. They have definitely picked up the tempo on this latest album, but Sally Shapiro's performance is still extremely subdued. For me it's not at the level they achieved with My Guilty Pleasure, but it is still a solid album.

Following the Rhapsody rating method I give it 3 out of 5 stars for Pretty Good.