School of Seven Bells | Alpinisms

Ghostly International (2008)
By DEVIN KING  |  October 27, 2008
1.0 1.0 Stars
Comprising Ben Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) and the sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (formerly of On!Air!Library!), School of Seven Bells piece together two familiar points of reference: the hook-heavy electronic music made popular by the Notwist, Postal Service, Volvo ads, etc.; and the humbucking and tightly controlled feedback of shoegaze. “Half Asleep” begins with the sisters singing a harmonized line; their related voices, like those of the Carter Family and the Beach Boys, can engage an otherwise dull melody. In time, the words get transformed into soft humming that intersects with distorted guitars wheezing in and out of tune. The rest of the album is tinged with various Middle Eastern (though “snake charmer” is probably a better description) keyboard presets and laughably groovy drum patterns. With a clearer eye to the cultures whose stereotypes they’re furthering, the Bells could have made a provocative connection between the European forms they’re comfortable with and any number of traditional Middle Eastern and Indian instruments and forms they’re interested in but not serious about.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FATHER MURPHY | ... AND HE TOLD US TO TURN TO THE SUN  |  July 29, 2009
    Harking back to an America where one's own lonely voice was the only radio and a BBQ meant a spit in the middle of the desert, Torino's Father Murphy hide detuned industrial textures within stripped-down, spacy folk instrumentation, like a man in a black hat picking up a bullet-riddled guitar with which to serenade his captives.
  •   SOUNDCARRIERS | HARMONIUM  |  May 27, 2009
    The first album from this Nottingham-based band is California dippy: whispered female/male harmonies, slack flutes, swinging drums, comping Hammond organs, and a bass player who finds basic funk riffs in every progression.
  •   THE MOVING PICTURES  |  May 12, 2009
    If one way that bands tie themselves to the past is through sonic reference — Fleet Foxes calling forth Crosby, Stills and Nash, or Animal Collective channeling the Grateful Dead — then there's been a number of bands who tie themselves to the past through cultural reference.
    Over the past year, Honest Jon's has released three compilations culled from more than 150,000 78s of early music from the EMI Hayes Archive: music from 1930s Baghdad, early West African music recorded in Britain, and a more general compilation that moved across country lines and the first half of the 20th century.
  •   PAPERCUTS | YOU CAN HAVE WHAT YOU WANT  |  April 14, 2009
    Hidden under reverb and aggressive analog production, the first sung lyrics on You Can Have What You Want belie what seems to be a cheery record title: "Once we walked in the sunlight three years ago this July."

 See all articles by: DEVIN KING