School of Seven Bells

SVIIB

Vagrant

Feb 12, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice Bookmark and Share


This is a very good pop record. Opening track "Ablaze" sets the tone with euphoric synths and 'ah's, getting you moving right from the start. Nitpicking, but this extended intro (the vocals don't come in until 0:51) leaves one hoping for a single edit that will get us to the dreamy sway of the verse that much quicker. Album precursor "Open Your Eyes" is another highlight of floating loveliness. Alejandra Deheza's quick-paced verse vocals pleasantly contrast with the sparse elegance of the music before both segue into the strong, soaring-at-an-even-pace chorus. The first bass note of said chorus is not the one your ear is expecting and little unanticipated musical changes like this are put to good use throughout the record. "A Thousand Times More" continues this relaxed yet uplifting stride, bursting into a chorus of lose-yourself-dancing elation. "Signals" and "Music Takes Me" are the most electro of the album, the latter possibly the best song on here. Its verse has the feel of Siouxsie & The Banshee's original of "Kiss Them for Me" (and not School of Seven Bells' cover of it) with a dash of Depeche Mode's "Behind the Wheel" thrown in for good measure, leading us to the pure enchantment of the chorus, an awesome ode to the magic of music. Penultimate track "Confusion" expands angelically, expressing both an ethereal strength and human fragility. There is not one weak track on here, and "This Is Our Time" finishes things off with all the majesty of the preceding 37 minutes. A strong optimism permeates SVIIB, despite the sad circumstances that brought the band to an untimely end when co-founder Benjamin Curtis passed away in 2013 from T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (the album includes music he recorded before his passing). But as Deheza puts it "This is a love letter from start to finish. It's the story of us starting from that first day we met in 2004, and that's the story of School of Seven Bells." And it is a beautiful one. (www.sviib.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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