Friday, 16 March 2012

This School's Littered With Ghosts

It's been a long while since I gave an actual, proper review on here. SO, seeing as I got thrown this album a little while ago and have tinkered with it for a couple publications, I thought I'd put it up here for today. Enjoy!

When a band loses a member, it is expected to see a dramatic change in the musical aesthetic. When said member is a sibling, it could prove to be even more divisive. But after Claudia Deheza walked out on New York band School Of Seven Bells after the success of their 2010 LP Disconnect From Desire, twin sister Alejandro and Benjamin Curtis kept the juggernaut rolling, and in Ghostory have crafted their most cohesive and consistent record to date. Nevertheless, the title seems fitting, as Claudia’s absence haunts every track.

There are tracks on Ghostory that reach heights hitherto unreached by the band. 'White Wind' drips with Gothic urgency, Deheza’s vocals a breathy monotone that provides an icy tension. Elsewhere there is 'Low Times', which benefits greatly from a machine-like vocal delivery and some persistent repetition, an effect also utilised on album opener 'The Night'. Deheza realises that everything hinges on her voice, and whilst she is effective, driven forward by Curtis’ production zeal, it was the double helix of the Deheza twins’ harmonies that pushed School Of Seven Bells into a different realms. On tracks such as 'Love Play' and 'Layafe', the duo struggle to rise above the current swell of 80s-styled disco-synth bands that dabble in light psychedelia and delicately crafted pop.

By the time the nine minute “epic” 'When You Sing' arrives to round out the album, the repetition that seemed vital at the start bears down heavily. To call Ghostory uninspired would be unfair, yet it is clear that the duo have to dig deeper for musical inspiration if they are to stay afloat.

Classier than usual, huh? Well, don't get used to it... Ghostory is available through Vagrant Records.

SOSB - The Night
SOSB - White Wind

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