One of the best things about Disco Romance, the 2007 debut album from Sally Shapiro (a/k/a Swedish producer Johan Agebjörn and his pseudonymous chanteuse), was its effortless channeling of the wistful spirit of vintage Italo-disco. One the most disappointing things about its follow-up is its effortless channeling of . . . Disco Romance. Of course, "Sally Shapiro" is protected by the opacity of her invented persona — at her own behest, she's more like a brand than an artist.
Can you fault one can of Sprite for tasting like the can before it? The drift of chords that opens "Swimming Through the Blue Lagoon" dimmed my house lights and fired up my inner mirror ball. But when the trickle of Rhodes that leads "Looking at the Stars" arose, I had to check my playlist — had "I Know" from Disco Romance somehow shuffled its way in? All across this new release, familiar bass lines return, pre-sets are rehired, and an album-wide vibe is wholly rehashed.
With few exceptions (the Vibert-inflected "Let It Show" chief among them), much of My Guilty Pleasure comes off like some cheeky entendre on the title. Agebjörn seems utterly uninterested in taking Shapiro to a new place — not even a different dance floor — and though you can't blame him for drawing out a good time, it feels as if we'd been here forever.