by / February 11th, 2009 /

School of Seven Bells – Alpinisms

 3/5 Rating

(Ghostly International)

Consisting of Benjamin Curtis (ex- Secret Machines) and sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, Brooklyn’s SVIIB have recently toured with M83, a match that’s a good indication of what to expect aesthetically from Alpinisms. It is a fulfilling, rewarding album, the palette of which is rich with digital gauze, heavenly harmony and shoegazing electronic pop.

A comparison to the Cocteau Twins is perhaps inevitable but justified as the sisters do share the same ethereal timbre as Liz Fraser. Take that blueprint and update it for 2008 with a coat of digital sheen: warm-toned synthesizers, glitchy beats and whirling ambient effects. The opening section is the most immediate, establishing the mood nicely with four upbeat numbers: the familiar -Iamundernodisguise’ (with vocals previously used in a different form by Prefuse 73), the percussive arc of -Face To Face On High Places’, the melodious -Half Asleep’ and the rich and noisy -Wired For Light’.

There are a few missteps. The overtly long 11 minutes bleep-assisted -Sempiternal-Amaranth’ is testing and the dark eclipse of -White Elephant Coat’ wanders. But by the time you get to the one-two sucker punch of the vocodered -Chain’, with its refrain of ‘I can not seem to remember my dreams lately’, and the unique harmony of the jagged -Prince Of Peace’, the troughs are forgotten. School of Seven Bells largely soar on a crest of a beautiful digital wave.

Listen: Spotify | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Youtube

  • Have to say that I’m in love with this record.

  • Love the cover art more than it’s contents… some great tracks but not enough of them.

  • I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case an album but If it’s half as good as that cover it must be alright

  • dermot

    I like the songs but the electronica arrangments are tepid.. They’d be a better band if they experimented with their sound some more.