Despite what could have been a fatal blow, New Yorkers School Of Seven Bells have answered admirably to the departure of Claudia Dehenza. Instead of folding, twin sister Alejandra and colleague Benjamin Curtis have picked up the pieces that made up the band and created a confident enduring work that puts paid to any poppycock about psychic twin connections. Moving on even further from 2010’s Disconnect From Desire, Ghostory is indeed ghost-like in many ways. Where their second album gained fans with emotive pop singles, here they seek to either galvanise or alienate: sonically lush and confident it may be, but its languid pace will lose many on first listen.
Where previously their lyrics were prominent and obviously personal, the vocal production throughout Ghostory leave them floating apart from the music. Though important and connected, the weight of sound and detail in production is effort enough in itself to digest. This is no background listen. Taking their cue from focused electronic rhythms and heavy synth use of ’80s pop and electro, the band have developed on the style with the benefit of hindsight and have managed to make a full, captivating shoegazing sound. The tripped out beats and hazy vocal on ‘Show Me Love’ are strangely warm, while ‘White Wind’s stomping rhythms are entrancing, in a controlled, frenzied manner. This control leaves you assured that these two have achieved exactly what they set out to do. Ghostory deserves, and indeed demands, your full attention. Though the lack of clarity and hooks may see it forgotten by many as time goes on, it will be a continuing reward for those who fall for its charm.