The best way to listen to Disconnect from Desire, the new full-length from School of Seven Bells is set aside an hour’s time, put up your Do Not Disturb sign, turn your stereo to full volume, and get prepared to journey deep into a psychadelic kaleidoscope of vocal harmonies, pulsating synths, and wall-of-sound guitar. Numerous opinions abound on the direction of SVIIB’s sophomore effort. If I’d had the ability to communicate exactly what I hoped for in Disconnect from Desire, the result would be no different than what it is.
School of Seven Bells (SVIIB) is a trio comprised of twins Claudia and Alejandra Dehaza (formerly of On!Air!Library!) and Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines). Their debut album Alpinisms was a huge indie success and Half Asleep was by far the signature track. I was captivated from the moment I heard it but I tend to be a sucker for their successful formula of Harmonies by Twin Sisters + Cool Guitarist.
Disconnect from Desire catapults you head first into its largess with “Windstorm”, said to be reminiscent of U2 whose Edge is rumored to be quite taken by the trio. Personally, I don’t hear U2 in “Windstorm” but it’s a great track. If you’ve never listened to SVIIB before, it’s the harmonies sung by the sisters that immediately draw you in. They’re a focal point of most of the songs on the album, including the powerful “Dust Devil”, where the sisters sing “I know you …” repeatedly amidst a powerful backdrop of pulsating drums, beats, and quirky synths that build to a crescendo and then gracefully place the listener front and center in the face of my favorite track on the album, “ILU”. “I want you to know that… I loved you,” sings Alejandra as the background sound that engulfs her takes on an a undulating and beautiful warp, paying homage to My Bloody Valentine circa “Soon“.
But I’m also continually reminded of one my favorite 80’s artists that I haven’t seen SVIIB compared to much. That would be the Cocteau Twins. Although the Dehaza twins’ voices are disimilar to that of Elizabeth Frazier, it’s more what they do with harmonies and sound that conjures up pleasant memories of being captivated by “Heaven or Las Vegas” or “Four Calendar Cafe“. It’s the mood they create.
Perhaps it’s an interest in mysticism that accounts for the sigil (symbol representing magical powers) that adorns the cover of Disconnect from Desire. So far, it’s working…
Click to hear the Featured Tracks:
“I L U“
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