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Year End 2008 - Best of 2008School of Seven Bells


Ghostly International

Nov 02, 2008 School of Seven Bells Bookmark and Share

Painting the New York trio School of Seven Bells into a dream-pop corner would be a mistake as the band includes more than its fair share of electronics bells and whistles on debut Alpinisms. Comprised of former Secret Machines guitarist/vocalist Ben Curtis and former On!Air!Library! vocalists (and twin sisters) Claudia and Alejandra Deheza, the band members have a tendency to belie their influences, namely Cocteau Twins, Kraftwerk, and Stereolab, but do so in honest and inspired homage. Alpinisms comes off surprisingly assured for a debut album, particularly in regard to the Deheza twins ethereal Elizabeth Fraser-inspired vocal interplay. In fact, most of the time, one would be hard pressed to make out what words the Deheza sisters are singing, which works exceedingly well for SoSB’s electronic-space rock hybrid.

“Iamundernodisguise” kicks things off with tribal electronic beats, waves of reverb, and celestially divine vocal harmonies. The soft blankets of synths and sparse piano chords make “For Kalaja Mari” a beautifully haunted ballad, while “Connjur” highlights the band’s gift for hook-laden pop melodies. Alpinisms most glaring fault however, lies with the overbearing and repetitious 12 minute slog of “Sempiternal/Amaranth.” But the good outweighs the bad for the most part here. Alpinisms is not a perfect record by any means, but it is a confident step in the right direction.

Author rating: 7/10

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