By Christopher Kompanek
Friday, November 23, 2012
School of Seven Bells’ music is often referred to as shoegaze pop, but Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza make a compelling case for shoegazers to look up and dance every now and then.
The duo’s new album, “Ghostory,” is its most consistently upbeat to date. Tracks such as “Low Times” have a heavy, driving beat played in an ’80s new-wave style, while the eight-minute epic “When You Sing” lulls us in with an abstract soundscape that snaps into focus with a rhythmic guitar hook layered on a perky electronic melody. It’s set to a simple yet insistent lyric that draws out the words of the title into a chant-like fury that makes standing still a challenge.
This energy builds throughout the album’s tightly constructed nine tracks, starting with the opening electric keyboard riff on “The Night” when Deheza purrs, “Devour me.”
On “Ghostory,” Curtis and Deheza are coming into their own. The band is increasingly comfortable bridging the gap between brooding shoegaze and fluffy pop, showing us that the divide is not as large as it seems.