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Key Tracks: "The Night," "Lafaye," "Low Times"
Losing band members is one of the toughest events a band can go through. If that member is leaving behind a twin sister, things might get a little dark in the studio. While School of Seven Bells have never made much music for a sunny day, the loss of Claudia Deheza (citing “personal reasons” for her departure) rains heavily on the mood of SVIIB’s new album, Ghostory.
Remaining members Alejandra Deheza and Benjamin Curtis didn’t let their setback keep them from creating some of their finest work to date.
Ghostory swings back and forth between slow brood-fests and danceable songs centered around electronic beats. The minimalistic “Reappear” places little more than a descending chord progression on a keyboard over Deheza’s vocals. Chosen for the band's appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, album-opener “The Night” gets the crowd moving with a chugging bass line and transcendental guitar playing.
With a warm low-end and creeping high-hats, SVIIB swings their goth swag all over the room during “Lafaye.” Singing about a “familiar unfamiliar,” the song has a reminiscing vibe to invoke a longing for the absent Deheza twin.
“Low Times” is like a sonic trip through a city’s seedy underground. The instrumentation comes together to create a feeling of escape before an electronic breakdown, and then the song erupts again with an even more persistent fury.
The album finishes with two of its heaviest songs, “White Wind” and “When You Sing.” The lyrics in “White Wind” are full of oceanic imagery, which is carried over an industrial beat to a fairly dark sound for a song about waves.
Some punk influences shine through on the guitar playing for “When You Sing.” The closing track increases its urgency with every added bit of fuzzed guitar and synth blips. A short drum break splits the song in two before wrapping the whole thing up again.
SVIIB has created an album with deeply longing overtones that manage to avoid bringing the listener down. Ghostory could be used to make a ghost out of any memory that needs to be shaken off, or as a segue between a bad day and a wild night. Or it can be simply appreciated for its blend of goth and glitz. If you want to space out or rock out, give this album a go.
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