Album Review: Ghostory School Of Seven Bells

24 March 2012 | 4:26 pm | Matt MacMaster

...but School Of Seven Bells have finally nailed it. They’ve gone and made the album they’ve been aiming for since day one.

It's taken them six years and two (pretty good) albums, but School Of Seven Bells have finally nailed it. They've gone and made the album they've been aiming for since day one. You can shout from the rooftops about songs like Heart Is Strange and Face To Face On High Places all day long, but with Ghostory they've conceived an entire album full of icy dream-pop gems that shine much brighter than anything they've done before. They've trimmed the fat (as well as a band member) and left us with a razor-sharp album that seems to come out of a future envisioned by Howard Hughes – all sleek, silver lines and streamlined shapes gliding through blue skies.

The central narrative concerns a young girl named Lafaye and the ghosts that haunt her. Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza focus on the metaphorical and physical, examining feelings of nostalgia and haunting melancholy. Deheza's wispy voice is the physical embodiment of Lafaye's visitors, but it's interesting that it never feels disembodied – as real ghosts are often portrayed. Her vocals have a strong relationship with the music, fitting the syllables to the melody even if it means breaking up words. It's not as disjointed as that sounds, as they neatly fold into the slipstream of the song and feel as part of it as any other element.

It's been said that SVIIB's sound comes from a form of shoegaze, and the hypnotic pulse they generate certainly supports that idea, but there's a clarity and focus here (Ghostory especially) that sets them apart. Perhaps a crystalised, digital My Bloody Valentine is an apt description. This is an excellent album and a great addition to their catalogue.