School of Seven Bells
Disconnect From Desire


2.0
poor

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
July 12th, 2010 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Stepford wives of shoegaze.

School of Seven Bells are kind of like that girl(s) at your high school who prided herself on her looks and demeanor above everything else, becoming such a monument to beauty and unrequited love that she was more an object to be discussed rather than interacted with. It never helped that more often than not these were the same girls whose looks were matched only by their prudishness and arrogance, and it’s these unfortunate characteristics that Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) and identical twin vocalists Alejandra and Claudia Deheza have adopted with their sophomore effort. Everything about Disconnect from Desire is painstakingly pristine, from its layered production to the Deheza’s dreamy vocals to even the title itself, which seems to reinforce the idea that, while this is undoubtedly beautiful music, it’s a beauty that nonetheless exists in a vacuum. The melodies are there, intricate stratums of shimmering harmonies and lilting lyrics that complement each other nicely; any sort of emotional feeling, however, is strangely absent.

Alpinisms was the sort of debut that treated the tired shoegaze genre with the eye of someone who normally spent his time writing space-rock epics – accordingly, it was a refreshing affair, one that combined odd tribal rhythms and theatrical choruses into something exciting. That novel sound has been completely stamped out here, Curtis instead seemingly content to pump up the synths like a bad M83 imitation and crank the vocoders and drum machines to the max. It makes what was probably intended to sound more like Kate Bush instead turn out like an ‘80s novelty group that grew up listening to only Stereolab records. At first, things are appropriately shoegaze-y and, like those girls at first look, unerringly gorgeous. “Windstorm” is the obvious highlight, really one of the few songs that surges ahead rather than relishing in its own glow. It’s also the only song under four minutes, a fact that only contributes to the feeling that one really feels the time start to pass as the record flows on, more than happy to stroll leisurely at its own pace thank you very much.

This album is lush; this album is impeccably produced; this album has two very potent female singers who know how to embellish each other. But something is missing in these hallowed halls of dream pop, where a crisp, hypnotic sound is more desirable than actual feeling. The constant stacking of effects, the intertwining of synths and melodies and vocals, combines for a wall of sound that is annoying on some songs and practically impenetrable on others. Alejandra and Claudia sound absolutely lovely on a song like “ILU” or “Dial,” but the problem is understanding what exactly they’re getting at under all those vocoder layers. As the record goes on and nothing seems to change, beside the odd jungle rhythm here (“Dust Devil”) or chintzy keyboard effect there (“Camarilla”), things blur and melt together, creating a morass of shoegaze that is as boring as it is interminable. Rarely is a song title as unfortunately accurate as Disconnect from Desire’s closer, “The Wait” – by the end of its nearly seven minutes of slow buildup, barely-there brush strokes and stately vocals, one could be forgiven for thinking the wait would never end. It’s a little sad, actually, as the amount of work that has clearly gone into the production of this album is impressive, but it’s like Curtis and the Deheza sisters would rather build a magnificent mansion with absolutely nothing inside it. All the window dressing in the world can’t hide what Disconnect from Desire is at its heart – icy, shallow and hopelessly empty.



Recent reviews by this author
Tennis Ritual In RepeatDeath From Above 1979 The Physical World
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Source Tags & CodesRyan Adams Ryan Adams
Blonde Redhead BarraganThe New Pornographers Brill Bruisers
user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2010


10460 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

metaphors!

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

joshuatree
Emeritus
July 13th 2010


3742 Comments


klap4music is like

jeremologyy
July 13th 2010


269 Comments


i agree. while nothing is entirely bad, nothing is entirely good either. its all so just... hanging there, whereas Alpinisms thrusted forward. their debut was fantastic, their sophomore is disappointing. Hopefully the slump will lift.

TheSaneLunatic
July 13th 2010


34 Comments


Yeah, I was also quite disappointed with this one. Windstorm is the only song I can actually remember easily, while Alpinism I can remember My Cabal, Iamundernodisguise, Face to Face on High Places, and two other songs which I cannot name but definitely know the melody. The production, however, is amazing, and perhaps Curtis put so much attention to the production to attempt to mask that the music itself is lackluster. I just hope it's simply a sophomore slump, and the third album will be amazing (Alpinism's music/melody/lyrics + Disconnect From Desire's production).

DiceMan
July 13th 2010


7068 Comments


Goddammit. I wanted this to b good so bad.

Geist
July 13th 2010


371 Comments


Haha, nice, I gave it the same score over at the blog I work for. Consider yourself liked.

AggravatedYeti
July 13th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hahaha @ summary.

I'm thinking our ratings would be the same--this so far is sounding very disappointing.

as usual great stuff rudeboy.

BallsToTheWall
July 13th 2010


44482 Comments


Great band, review. Expect to enjoy this.

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2010


15043 Comments


sucks that this sucks


face to face on high places from alpinisms is honestly a perfect song

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2010


7343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Excellent review. I'm listening to this now and I really like the first song.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2010


10460 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

easily the best song on here

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2010


7343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah so far nothings matched it. The rest so far has been decent though imo though I can understand your arguements.

PoodleRapist
July 14th 2010


254 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

it's kinda sad that it's just decent though... it's like an album-long tease for a great song that never comes

mvdu
July 14th 2010


605 Comments


I agree with the people giving this 3 or above. I see them as a Sleigh Bells type, but with better melodies, vocals, use of noise and use of atmospheric sounds.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2010


10460 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

sleigh bells? really?

Geist
July 14th 2010


371 Comments


Yeah, I don't see the Sleigh Bells here. At all.

They're closer to Diet My Bloody Valentine, with women.

mvdu
July 15th 2010


605 Comments


It's because of the differences that I stated that they don't sound alike, but they have certain similarities like the hook on the first song here.

Satellite
July 15th 2010


20818 Comments


Best intro ever.

Bitchfork
July 15th 2010


7584 Comments


M83 on Hollister crack.

Bitchfork
July 15th 2010


7584 Comments


And as we all know, Hollister crack is like anti-crack. Ritalin if you actually have ADD.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy