For a band whose members met while opening on an Interpol tour, it is of no surprise that they would create beautifully mystical soundscapes. School of Seven Bells has just released their third and most refined record, Ghostory. SVIIB’s new lineup may play a part in the polished new sound; vocalist Alejandra Deheza’s twin sister Claudia left the group just months after the release of 2010’s widely-acclaimed Disconnect From Desire.
However, Deheza is still going strong on her own, and guitarist/producer Ben Curtis’ musical expertise doesn’t hurt, either. Since 2008’s debut Alpinisms, the band has only been improving upon what was already magnificent. With Ghostory, the duo presents more of the cinematic dream pop that we have come to love and expect.
This album also shows a matured take on musical composition, from the perfect percussive punctuation of “Low Times” to the distorted guitars of the darker “Lafaye.” According to the band’s website, they describe this album as being “the tale of a young girl named Lafaye and the ghosts that surround her life.”
It is clear that this album describes the ‘ghosts’ of various aspects of love and relationships, from the desperate “Show Me Love” to the bitter “Scavenger.” Each glossy track brings something new to the table, utilizing tranquil cooing vocals and dazzling electro-pop.
With a celestial backdrop, Deheza croons more than she belts, and Curtis uses distortion and echoes to create track after track beautifully drenched in reverb. From the delightfully upbeat album opener “The Night” to the driving force of “White Wind,” there is no shortage of upbeat tracks. However, there is also the light and poignant “Reappear” and the weaker “When You Sing.” The latter loses momentum after the striking instrumentals at the beginning of this too-long track, but it is likely the most accessible track of the album as it is more rock (and, coincidentally, less unique).
Closer “Low Times” is easily one of the best tracks of the album, as is “Love Play” which is the track most reminiscent of 2010’s popular “Windstorm.” Ghostory is varied enough without straying too far from their roots, and truly showcases a growth in their sound and musical capabilities. Call it dance music, call it shoegaze, call it dream-pop…call it what you will, but School of Seven Bells is back and on track to be better than ever.