Brooklyn's School of Seven Bells made a name for themselves with songs that were somehow both trance-inducing and dance-inducing, buoyed by the ethereal harmonies of sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza and the inventive guitar work of Benjamin Curtis, who sometimes sounds like he's sending Morse code signals from Morpheus' realm.
They haven't been previously accused of lacking artistic vision, but it sounds like it's opus-time on their upcoming new album Ghostory, an album length parable about a character named Lafaye and the ghosts that haunt her. It will be released by Vagrant Records and Ghostly International on Feb. 28.
"Alley has always written her lyrics from many different points of view, and it’s all been distilled down to this album," Curtis tells Nonstop Sound. "This character and what she’s saying became so direct and clear while she was writing. They’re the ghosts of Lafaye's past speaking back to her, and she’s speaking back to them. The perspective of the songs shifts a lot, but in each instance it’s really clear, and you have to hear it all figure it out."
Curtis says Ghostory is notable not just for the unified lyrical underlay, but for giving the band's ghostly pop a sonic goosing. “This has so much more energy than anything we’ve done. I think a lot of bands a lot of bands tend to slow down on their third album," he says, "but this is faster, more frenetic, much more of a slap to a face than anything we’ve done.”
During the tour for Disconnect, Claudia Deheza left the group. School of Seven Bells has now congealed around the remaining two members and a series of supporting musicians for the live show. “The way we work as a band is the same, and the live line-up has shifted so many times," says Curtis, "but he experience of what we went through, we can’t help but be affected by it."
The pair of Curis and Alejandra had written music for their previous albums, 2008's Alpinism and 2010's Disconnect From Desire, separately and then piecing the material together. They took a different tack on Ghostory, which was written and recorded between tour dates. "This is different than anything we’ve written before," says Curtis. "This time we had the bright idea that we should write together in the same room, like most bands do, and everything came to both of us completely simultaneously. We were reacting to each other while making it."
1. The Night
2. Love Play
4. Low Times
6. Show Me Love
8. White Wind
9. When You Sing