Wednesday 29 February 2012

School of Seven Bells - Ghostory

The latest album from School of Seven Bells probably won't have been on your radar. But for fans of M83 and other dream pop artists, SVIIB should be a priority.

So who are these guys? From New York, the duo consist of Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza. 'Ghostory' marks their first release following identical twin Claudia Deheza's departure and it's their third album after debut 'Alpinisms' (2008) and 'Disconnect From Desire' (2010). And the name? It comes from a mythical South American pickpocket training academy. Right.

Musically this is all whooshing synth pads, reverbed guitars, slow beats and Deheza's ethereal vocal (now lacking the harmonies of her sister) all heavily layered together. It's an incredibly expansive and cinematic sound, the sort of music that transports you away from it all to a dark, ponderous place in your head. Single Lafaye is the most memorable track with its "la la la" chorus, but the rest of the tracks lack standout killer hooks. But this works in the album's favour, allowing you to impose your own thoughts and feelings. Like Errors' recent 'Have Some Faith In Magic', whatever you may be doing 'Ghostory' will provide a suitably dreamy and evocative soundtrack to surreal alternate dimensions, futuristic landscapes and supernatural figures in swirling mists. The video for Lafaye (see below) doesn't do the music justice.

But what of the title? 'Ghostory' is actually a concept album about a girl named 'Lafaye', haunted by ghosts that surround her. Not that you'd really know - Deheza's gently whispered vocals are obscured by the whirling production, becoming just another ghostly texture in the haze. As such, it's the overall feel and mood of the music that grabs you. 'Ghostory' is a sensory, and sensual, listen of spectral thrills - the "devour me" of The Night especially. It lacks the pop sensibility and immediacy of M83's work, but give it time and the intricacies of the production will wash over you, whispering like ghosts at the back of your neck. Like the lyrics to Scavenger, this will make you feel something, even if you feel nothing.


Gizzle's Choice:
* The Night
* Lafaye
* Scavenger