School of Seven Bells are a quartet turned duo of Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza from Brooklyn whose unique brand of experimental electro-pop is ready for its third EP outing.
The band dates back to a meeting backstage at an Interpol gig, where two warm-up bands Secret Machines (Curtis) and On!Air!Library! (Deheza sisters)met and three members of the two bands decided to make the separate project now known as School of Seven Bells. Since then, their work has taken a beat driven direction, audible in their first attempt Alpinisms and their more synthpop return Disconnect From Desire.
Their new album demonstrates a step in a new direction. Possibly a product of their streamlined line up’s attempt to innovate, is a concept album about ghosts. As their elatedly toned press release reads, the album is “nine lush pieces to tell the story of Lafaye and the ghosts that surround her life.”
While the sceptic in me is conjuring images of the typical bloated rock and roll cliché, all my qualms have been put to rest by the simple fact that Ghostory does indeed deserve a certain degree of praise.
A follow up to their more sequence heavy past two albums and heavily stripped back, Ghostory is a more solemn and visceral piece. Focussing more on the lyrical content, Curtis’s musical prowess seems more on the backburner, rather than the main feature. Deheza has also dropped any country influences annoyingly visible in their earlier work for a more other worldly approach.
As a result there’s a certain ethereal Quality to their music. Their third album is a more clinical blend of more ghostly shoegazing-style vocals of Deheza with electro-pop production and progressive guitar work of Curtis that creates a selection of meaningful yet danceable pieces. Listening to their lead single Lafaye, you can detect the echoic vocals and unerring
As a result their new sound is more like Zola Jesus or Warpaint rather than their older synth based style. With their new age ambiance and indie rhythms, you’ll more than likely find yourself lost in their encompassing tones and dizzying strobe lighting in a festival tent stage sometime in the summer.