It’s been five years since Sally Shapiro — a collaboration between producer Johan Agebjörn and an anonymous vocalist who records her vocals all alone in the studio and refuses to perform live — released The Collection. But the duo, who helped bring italo disco to the masses with releases like 2007’s Disco Romance and 2009’s My Guilty Pleasure, are finally back.
Their newest single is titled “Fading Away” and it’s quite a bit heavier than songs like “I’ll Be By Your Side” and “Dying in Africa.” Agebjörn’s production is almost punishing at times. Meanwhile, the vocals are distant and ghostly as they bemoan a relationship gone wrong (“I wasn’t the uninspired/I wasn’t the one who tried/To frame me for not having fun”).
But then the chorus arrives, with Agebjörn’s synths streaking and coursing across the sky high overhead even as the vocals sigh “We lose it all like the flowers/In the wind… And then there was only synthwave left.” The juxtaposition of hard and quiet, harsh and soft, works well, and becomes something almost transcendent in the finest Sally Shapiro fashion.