There is something very excellent going on in the School of Seven Bells machine, with a music theory and approach to writing that is well crafted and genuine. Benjamin Curtis played amazing space guitar in Secret Machines and his rock genius combined with the Deheza sisters seemed like a recipe for success.
School of Seven Bells - Ghostory <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=BJ3GdPoPFpA&offerid=146261&t..." target="itunes_store"><img src="http://r.mzstatic.com/images/web/linkmaker/badge_itunes-lrg.gif" alt="Ghostory - School of Seven Bells" style="border: 0;"/></a>
With Ghostory, one sister has departed and what remains is a one-note product without any stand-out tracks or memorable melodies. But all too often the songs fail to go anywhere, with the final twenty seconds of each song feeling as emotionally powerful as the first, with no crescendo in between. Add in the often flat vocals from an otherwise talented songstress and you have an album not worth getting. Where did this band of intelligent people go wrong?
Take "Reappear:" this song kicks the Daft Punk influence into high gear, guaranteeing that if there was a record store in the TRON universe, this album would be out of stock. But nothing actually happens in that song as the final 90 seconds feels like a single note is being held on someone's midi keyboard. The rest follows a semi-robotic approach to pop, partly using Ladytron's approach of a cold female singing low-and-tight over synth chords.
This song is not reflective of the whole album, at least not in tone, but it is in terms of structure. To be fair, the whole thing isn't terrible. When Alejandra Deheza gets in the zone, she can be quite enchanting, but too often it felt like she was just chanting. At her best, she's Stevie Nicks and at her worst she is a drive-thru operator.
It's not all bad, though.
"Low Times" has a driving drum pattern and non-stop guitar fuzz, until the synth kicks in and rides the wave until the end of the jam. The drummer must have been in hi-hat heaven, as that particular set of symbols gets the most punishment through the nearly seven-minute song.
"Lafaye" builds to a fun conclusion, giving hipsters something to dance to.
I really wanted to like this album. After seeing the band at Bonnaroo, I found their brand of duo rock fresh and cohesive. Curtis had tons of control on this output, as playing guitar and producing the entire thing can put a lot of instruments and power in your hand, but that can also be a bad thing. Maybe all this album needs is a bass player, because there is a definite lack of soul here. If Bootsy Collins was on this, it may have been album of the year.
Buy Now On iTunes:<a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=BJ3GdPoPFpA&offerid=146261&t..." target="itunes_store">Ghostory - School of Seven Bells</a>
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