School Of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

School Of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire

by Steve Rhodes Rating:8.5 Release Date:2010-07-12

School of Seven Bells - thankfully also known as a shorter version, SVIIB - first shot to our attention back in 2007-8 with the single 'My Cabal' and debut album Alpinisms. Crafted by ex- Secret Machines' Benjamin Curtis and the vocal harmonies of twin sisters, Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, SVIIB plunged a dreamy, ethereal existence with particular homage to the mythical other-worldliness of The Cocteau Twins and Kate Bush, drenching each hook-laden song with beautiful but ultimately rather muggy guitar effects

It's a nice change, therefore, to see the effects stripped back into a more conventional form on Disconnect from Desire, SVIIB's second album. Opener and lead single 'Windstorm' is fairly typical of the refined direction, Alejandra and Claudia's vocals take a far stronger lead in the mix, backed amiably with an electronically driven sample. The song is almost joyous and singalong, similar in optimism and spirit to recent material of the more child-like Múm.

The album is certainly a throwback to the 80s, albeit with the production of today, with vocals and melody often eerily resembling Strawberry Switchblade in places, particularly on 'Heart is Strange' and 'Bye Bye Bye', and is the better for it.

'Camarilla' employs a great mix of Kraftwerk-esque analogue keys and light, Loveless-era MBV guitar sampling, but the highlight is the poppy M83-influenced 'I L U', a simple and glorious paean of longing and rejection: "There is so many things I wish I knew how to say in a way that you'd understand but I can't/ so many times I've tried/ looking into your eyes for a sign that maybe you'll feel the same but you don't". It is deliriously sad yet hopeful at the same time.

Finishing on a high, 'The Wait' could be argued to be a riposte to Donna Summer's 'State of Independence'. Atmospheric, plaintive and simplistic in structure, it is as strong as an album closer of any and leaves the listener with a happy outlook on life.

A joyous departure, while not totally disconnecting from the past, Disconnect rom Desire is a bold step forward. If it is SVIIB's attempt at the mainstream, it is certainly strong and worthy enough to crack it.

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