School of Seven Bells release debut LP and support Bat For Lashes
School Of Seven Bells have announced the release of their debut album Alpinisms on February 23rd. In addition, they will be joining Bat For Lashes on her April UK tour.
More info from the press release:
Brooklyn dream pop trio School Of Seven Bells have set the date for the official release of ‘Alpinisms’ and announced they will be supporting Bat For Lashes on her April tour. Their enchanting debut album is out 23rd February and the band is playing the following dates with Bat For Lashes. This tour follows on from the previously announced debut headline European tour in February:
7 Apr 2009 The Ritz, Manchester
8 Apr 2009 Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow
9 Apr 2009 Stage 2, Northumbria University, Newcastle
11 Apr 2009 Metropolitan University, Leeds
12 Apr 2009 Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham
13 Apr 2009 The Regal, Oxford
15 Apr 2009 Anson Rooms, Bristol
16 Apr 2009 Brighton Corn Exchange, Brighton
17 Apr 2009 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
School Of Seven Bells is the collective work of Benjamin Curtis, ex-guitarist from the Secret Machines and identical twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, previously of ambient post-rockers On! Air! Library! and occasional collaborators with Prefuse 73. The band themselves are named after the mythical South American pickpocket academy, the School Of Seven Bells which may or may not have existed in the 1980s, according to a late night documentary Alejandra once caught on US television. The tracks on ‘Alpinisms’ are written as secret missives between the School’s imaginary seven members and introduce us into the dizzyingly inclusive fantasy world of Benjamin, Claudia and Alejandra.
The album is best introduced with a little etymology: Mercurial French author Rene Daumal defined “alpinism” as “the art of climbing mountains.” Art of course, means many things: the perfection of craft, the transcendence of spirit, the physical world and the truth found beyond it. Alpinists then, are both athletes and mystics. They practice “pure” climbing, hands gripping the cragged incline without rope or guide, forcing their bodies ever-upward in the name of earthly enlightenment. “Alpinisms,” says Daumal enthusiast and guitarist Alejandra Deheza, “are mountain-climbing songs.”
The eleven songs reflect this passion for purity and the pursuit of enlightenment, each building up to an ecstatic crescendo. ‘Alpinisms’ is an electronically enhanced pop record of dizzying highs and claustrophobic lows, whose painstaking conception shows in its detail-laden crevices. Throughout, the whole heavenly affair is tethered to the ground with a glitchy, tribal thwomp.
Album opener ‘Iamundernodisguise’ begins with some afro-beat style tribal drumming, paired with the twins ethereal near-identical voices intertwined like the fingers of praying hands, repeating just four lines over and over, gradually layering synths, guitars and yet more vocals creating a primal stomp. ‘Face To Face In High Places’ launches straight in with a rattling and urgent beat, which becomes interlaced with the twins’ distorted vocals. The undertow of guitars is far away but palpable, warping the pretty in just the right ways, creating a beautiful, affectionate love song that carries the heart-wrenching line “One day I’ll tell you what you did for me, It’s safe to say, saving you saved me”.
The album progresses further into the realms of the band members’ sub-conscious, with the illuminating ‘Wired For Light’ and it’s jagged rhythms, exotic strings, horns and lyrics echoing from far away lands. ‘White Elephant Coat’ introduces jarring piano chords, which slowly float into tune with the constant and steady bass humming and ‘My Cabal’, the band’s debut single released on Sonic Cathedral last year, is an cluster of sonic beauty reminiscent of early Cocteau Twins and 4AD’s more gauzy moments.
‘Half Asleep’, the mesmerising single already making waves, opens with an array of layered synthesisers and otherworldly electronic bleeps and beats, balanced with the twins’ inviting harmonies gliding above the visceral rhythms. A dream-like pop tune, hypnotic and addictive throughout, with a continuous beat propelling it ever forward and the effect of the multi-tracked swirling ‘sisters’ is positively transcendental as they stylishly split the difference between shoegazing introspection and stargazing pop.
With influences spread as far and wide as My Bloody Valentine, 80’s electro-pop one hit wonder Debbie Deb (who is having a bit of a revival recently after being remixed by cult DJ and producer Duke Dumont) to obscure prog rockers Gentle Giant and Colombia’s number one diva Toto La Momposina, the School Of Seven Bells’ sound is as schizophrenic as it is blissful. While the three band members remain abstract and experimental in their approach to writing, the result is always glorious ethereal pop music of epic proportions.