Cotton Candy Techno-Sass
Sally Shapiro is the Gretchen Weiners of disco/synthpop. That’s why her sound’s so big – it’s full of secrets! Kidding aside, Ms. Shapiro (Real Name: Unknown) is probably the most beloved and celebrated recluse of hipster music since Jeff Mangum. She and fellow Swede Johan Agebjörn record under the Sally Shapiro umbrella; releasing buckets of precious techno-sass, and never, ever touring.
It’s an odd choice, but the oddity seems to work in their favor. Their latest release, Somewhere Else, is a sparkly assortment requiring little visual accompaniment. Let it spin on your Spotify while you gussy up for a night on the town and let the sequins you stick on your face be the live performance. Glitzy glimmers are what Sally Shapiro’s sound is all about.
The record begins with a forty second “Prescript,” – an expansive nano-jam with bird-effects; something you’d hear on a loop in a dayspa. It rolls unceremoniously into “I Dream with an Angel Tonight,” where the fairy-like vocals flutter in over a boppy soundscape. “All My Life,” is hot on its heels, with a retro arcade game feel; spacey but pulsing, accompanied by those same whisper-vox. You can feel the glowsticks spinning in this one. Then there’s “The City’s Local Italo Disco DJ has a Crush on Me,” which, if nothing else, should win Song Title of the Year. Somewhere Else also offers up the following musical amenities: a flute solo, a lot more delicate chirping from Ms. Shapiro, and the ’80s-Americana-meets-’90s-J-Pop “Don’t Be Afraid (Alternative Version)”.
Altogether, this elusive duo does some decent work. It’s as fluffy and sweet as a cone of cotton candy – so if sugar is your thing, Sally Shapiro’s latest work is worth a listen.