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Sally Shapiro: My Guilty Pleasure

Album: My Guilty Pleasure
Label: Paper Bag

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For many, dance music and its most unmuddled, upbeat subgenres—Italo disco, house, and Eurobeat—are purely guilty pleasures. The Swedish duo known as Sally Shapiro (also the pseudonym of the pair’s singer), however, have heretofore made a good run at removing the listener’s remorse from the equation. With their first release, 2007’s Disco Romance, writer/producer Johan Agebjörn and that blonde vocalist whose face graces the album cover added a third dimension to what was otherwise blithe, nonsensical party music: a strange, deep aural melancholy that felt like a game-changer for a scene that was sorely in need. Two years and tons of remixes later, whether or not the greater game’s changed because of that debut, it’s arguable that Sally Shapiro hasn’t changed much. If anything, My Guilty Pleasure feels slightly truer to its influences, which isn’t good news for the guilt-ridden out there. This album doesn’t dwell in moodiness as much as its predecessor, sliding from one synth-soaked pop number to the next with a ravey non-progression. “Looking At The Stars,” “Love In July,” and “My Fantasy” might as well be the same song, operating at a nearly identical high-energy tempo, building to a chord shift and dropout, followed by an epic outro that dissolves into comedown etherea. “Let It Show” is a worthy exception, a menacing slice of bassy electro that sports glacial synth tones and loads of skittering bits, but most of Sally Shapiro’s sophomore LP falls victim to that ancient killer of dance music’s credibility: sameness.