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Sally Shapiro

Elsewhere

(Paper Bag; US: 28 May 2013; UK: 28 May 2013)

Mixed Up

Ah, the remix album. One thing about remixes: they tend to take what was a great three- or four-minute pop song and then bludgeon it by doubling its length and adding all sorts of unnecessary accouterments. Rare is the remix you hear that is better than the original. That’s what makes Elsewhere so daring. It is a full remix album of tracks from Swedish disco duo Sally Shapiro – an anonymous female lead singer and producer Johan Agebjörn – and their record, Somewhere Else, released earlier this year. Aside from a reshuffling of the track order, and the dropping of the original album’s intro and outro, Elsewhere sees Sally Shapiro get the remix treatment by Young Galaxy, the Field, Dan Lissvik, Mitch Murder and Nite Jewel, among others.


Yes, some of the songs are excessively long, and exceed into the seven and eight minute range. Yes, this album is like a time capsule into ‘80s synth rock with some Chic thrown in for good measure. And, yes, it’s pretty front-loaded, and by the time you get to the album’s end, you’re getting into the dross tracks. However, Elsewhere works surprisingly well as a statement on its own two feet, and, unless you didn’t know the difference, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a bona-fide real release from the band itself. “I Dream With An Angel Tonight” retains the verse-chorus-verse structure, just with the sound of water running underneath it, threatening to flood the whole thing – though it’s still quite strong despite all that. “Architectured Love” is a full-on thudding techno-house remix that’s quite appealing. Perhaps the best thing is the new version of “Don’t Be Afraid”, which is so ‘80s pop, you can imagine Jennifer Beals doing a training montage to it. Overall, Elsewhere is that rarity of a companion album that works well on its own. You don’t need to have heard Somewhere Else, though it might help, and you will get down on the floor to the clubby beats that Elsewhere brings to the table. This is worth checking out, even though it will be of most interest to Sally Shapiro fans in the first place.

Rating:

Zachary Houle is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee for his short fiction, and the recipient of a writing arts grant from the City of Ottawa. He has had journalism published in SPIN magazine, The National Post (Canada), Canadian Business, and more.


Related Articles
13 Jun 2013
Even if we don't know the person behind Sally Shapiro, Somewhere Else proves there's still quite a musical identity to live up to and maintain.
25 Aug 2009
Sally Shapiro, the icy disco queen who captured hearts in 2007 with her superb debut Disco Romance, returns with a solid (if a tad familiar) sophomore effort.
29 Oct 2007
2007's been a big year for discopop, and part of it was Sally Shapiro's doing.
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