Album Review: School of Seven Bells – SVIIB

By Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor

[Vagrant; 2016]

Rating: 3.5/5

Key Tracks: “Ablaze,” “On My Heart,” “Signals”

After a lengthy break following the tragic 2013 death of member Benjamin Curtis, School of Seven Bells have returned with its fourth record SVIIB. With this new album, the dream-pop band focuses more on pop through better, cleaner production and stronger synths, which makes for a really fun and impressive release.

The stronger songs on the album are surprisingly the ones that show the emphasis on pop influence, as one would think they’d be the tracks that feel tired and recycled. They go in a style similar to CHVRCHES and A Sunny Day in Glasgow through the heavy reverb effects on the synths and glitch-style production in the beginning of tracks.

The best tracks on SVIIB include “Ablaze,” which sounds like a strange cross between a more radio-friendly A Sunny Day In Glasgow and New Order, “On My Heart,” whose instrumentals sound very similar to CHVRVHES and “Signals,” which sounds like something Purity Ring would make for a fashion show runway. Other standout tracks include “Open Your Eyes,” which has really interesting glitchy production and “A Thousand Times More,” which is faster than anything else on the record and is more guitar-driven than a lot of the other songs.

SVIIB is a really creative dream-pop record that goes for a bigger sound and succeeds without feeling too forced or corny. Although some parts can feel a bit short or uninspired, the entirety of the album makes for a lot of fun and never feels exhausted.

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