Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #79 - School of Seven Bells, "Ghostory"

I've enjoyed the last two S7B albums and an ATP performance a couple of years ago, so I'm hoping for them to snap the sequence of disappointing albums that's run the last couple of days.

It's dream pop again. So I should be feeling flat about it. But (and I'm going to push that gender button again!) the vocals are crisp and joyous and set this album aside from a lot of the fuzzy tide. Although apparently they now have just the one vocalist, which I didn't pick up on without reading it. The production is not much more than a backdrop, fairly muted, lumpen drums - a mechanical approximation of late Cure.

"The Night" has a real Breakfast Club feel, The Edge-lite guitar and has more going on than the stripped down nature of most of the other tracks. I like the slower, shimmier stuff the more. "Reappear" doesn't really go anywhere, but hangs around miasmically before fading out with a TARDIS type pulse. "Show Me Love" revs pleasingly with My Bloody Valentine's lazy menace before frankly shit drum noises cheapen things up. "Scavenger" sparkles at points of the chorus, when there's a Cocteau rush of a gear change in her voice, but never quite kicks on. Frustrating in a similar way to the Sleigh Bells album, also operating under a duo dynamic.

Is the album's ghost theme inspired by the absence of Alejendra's absent twin sister, leaving a spectral image on their reduced, collective imagination? Hmm? Well? "I see you in everything...You left me, baby."

"White Wind" sounds like she's signing "Void" over and again instead of "White", which I like. The tune too is more restless. "When You Sing" closes with more Kevin-Shields-y guitar and livelier drums, coming over as a "Loveless" demo. Which is a good thing. It gives the sheets of guitar and vocals more to rub up against.

Rating: Sparkly Moments out of Twinlessness

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