Sunday, February 22, 2009

School of Seven Bells: tour, release new single

Premier dream-pop trio, School of Seven Bells, are still bustling about in the depths of Winter - finishing the US leg of their first big tour of 2009, before heading across the pond for a flurry of European dates through March and April. After diligently a handful of 7” singles in short order after their 2007 formation, guitarist/electro-provocateur Benjamin Curtis, from Secret Machines and dual singers (and also keyboardist/guitarists) the Deheza twins (Alejandra and Claudia) from On!Air!Library! are still riding strong on the fringes of a buzz-wave, after releasing the sweet and serene pop-odyssey, Alpinisms in 2008, on Ghostly International.

The single for said-album's swooning, herky-jerky haze-pop “Iamundernodisguise” came out last week (with B-side "Trance Figure (Nobody remix)"), on Ghostly. The blunted burst of a drum machine marches along with a steady burning synth and the back-and-forth pulsation of the Deheza sisters’ equilibrium-shattering waver. The subtle guitar twangs looming in the back and in the corners pop out after a calamatous chorus that includes spiritual feeling wordless echoing exertions.

Alpinisms draws heavily from the day-dreamily fuzzed out lovey pop of 80’s new-wave, sampling the purposely murky and cryptic, mumbly but bewitching dreamspeak lyricism of the Cocteau Twins and splaying out into the prog-loving art-punk of twiddling the dials and drowning out the sound in a measured yet dizzying dose of fuzzy feedback and cerebral, warbling reverb.

For those of you at home playing drinking games connected to how many times I, or anyone else, use the word (as metaphor or adjective) “dream,” well, you’d understand if you spun the album through a few times. Not only does it have that sort of whirled where-am-I feeling lingering through the fuzzy corners of your mind, after each listen (facilitated by the haunting siren-like swoon of the Deheza sister’s harmonizing and howled serenades, combined with Curtis’ consistent electro-grind and metric meandering of crunchy synths), but the lyrics are also rapt with ethereal imagery – philosophizing the logistics of the dream state and the unreasonable, unstable, euphoric-madness of a slumber’s adventure. Each song feels as though it’s winding ceaselessly without ever leaving this dark nocturnal maze of a structure.

Suffice it to say they’ve made a big enough splash throughout 08, with tours, attention-grabbing performances at CMJ, the well-received Alpinisms and now, “Iamundernodisguise”

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