SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS
Album review: "Ghostory"
By Moira E. McLaughlin
Friday, March 30, 2012
With the release of its third album, "Ghostory," the first without singer Claudia Deheza, School of Seven Bells settles into its synth-soaked sounds and creates the indie-electronica music that it was destined to make.
The tunes are heavy on reverb and thick with layers, and the Madonna-like vocals of Alejandra Deheza (Claudia's twin sister) center the songs over and around Benjamin Curtis's strong rhythms and well-crafted production.
The album is heavy with '80s rock and pop influences but also steeped in modern sensibilities. "Low Times" begins with a Devo vibe but quickly evolves into something much more, featuring a beautiful guitar arpeggio that gives way to Deheza's smoky, strong harmonies. Aside from guitar, the album eschews traditional rock sounds and plays with notes and harmonies through the lens of modern production.
The album often has a dance club feel. "Lafaye" showcases a throbbing beat, and the pulsating rhythm of "White Wind" evokes a hypnotic whirling dervish. But then the nearly nine-minute "When You Sing" takes its time to develop as different melody lines bleed from the vocals to the bass and an amplified, dirty guitar and then back again to the vocals. It's a complex undertaking well worth its length.
Everything Curtis has done feels meticulously on purpose. The result is a fresh album that raises the bar for its genre.