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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Sally Shapiro
Disco Romance
Paper Bag

Rating: 8/10 ?


November 28, 2007
Within the genre of electronic pop music, the seminal outfit Kraftwerk has inspired almost all existing bands in some way or another. Such an over-arching influence from a single band should come as no surprise in this case, since the now-elderly German gentlemen behind Kraftwerk went about setting the standard for electronic music several decades ago. Over time their influence has waxed and waned, with some acts taking on a deeper impression than others. A case in point is the Swedish duo known as Sally Shapiro, which consists of composer and songwriter Johan Agebjörn and a singer from whom the group's name is taken. While Sally Shapiro the woman is easily granted center stage with her voice and name, Sally Shapiro the musical entity is notably more than a solo act, since Agebjörn is such a huge part of the creative process.

The pair's debut effort, Disco Romance, contains ten bubbly electronica tracks that rely heavily on two axes of influence, the afore-mentioned Kraftwerk as well as Saint Etienne, the English dance rockers who helped define the resurgence of club influences in the indie movement of the 1990s. Like a truely behind the scenes, knob-twiddling type, Agebjörn knows his electronic and dance history, and even though his influences are far from obscure or discreetly packaged, he never outright lifts or even borrows too heavily from the founding fathers (and mothers). Agebjörn seems to understand the notion of influence, and the idea that forebearers should be seen as merely guides in his own creative process.

The namesake Sally Shapiro herself has a beautiful voice; it's soft and cute, and goes very well with Agebjörn's slightly retro-sounding swooshing synths and warm analog-y bleeps and blips. Ripened for a sense of season, Disco Romance has a wintry theme to it, with song titles like "Anorak Christmas", "Skating in the Moonlight", and "Jackie Jackie (Spend This Winter With Me)", not to mention the overt cover shot of Shapiro in a snowy landscape. The frosty thematics are further intensified by Shapiro's vocals, that in spite of being generally very soft and cute can also have a distant chill to it. You know, kind of like soft snow falling slowly on a cold moonlit winter night. Cool and crisp, but without being brutal or frigid.

Buoyed by the single "I'll Be By Your Side," which is bound to see one of those slow-momentum rolls to plenty of radio airplay, Disco Romance is a solid album from start to finish. Other tracks that would qualify as memorable are "Find My Soul" and "Anorak Christmas," the latter of which actually sounds like a Yule-tide synth-pop anthem, and "Sleep in My Arms". For all of the Northern hemisphere eggnog gulpers desperately looking for a song to replace Wham's "Last Christmas" on their holiday party mixtape, a jolly new year-end favorite might just be lurking amongst Disco Romance's ten songs. All are great tracks that can produce a longing to stand in the snow, surrounded by snowflakes, staring at a big bright full moon, freezing your ass off.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg

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