School of Seven Bells
SVIIB


4.0
excellent

Review

by Oranges. CONTRIBUTOR (72 Reviews)
March 11th, 2016 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I know your heart is broken/And you've been weakened/But I've been waiting here/Patiently for too long

It’s been almost three years since the tragic death of Benjamin Curtis, and considering the fact that Alejandra Deheza was the only remaining member of the band, it’d be more than understandable if she opted to disband School of Seven Bells and move on. Instead, Deheza continued working on SVIIB, which had been partially written and recorded before Curtis’s illness. At this point, it’s pretty clear that SVIIB will be the last album released under the School of Seven Bells name. That isn’t so much a loss as a triumph, though, because this is one hell of a bang to go out with.

“Ablaze” opens with typical indie pop fanfare, from the upbeat guitar groove and aureate drumming to Deheza’s glossy, overlaid vocals. “Open Your Eyes” heavily contrasts this with a much more ballad-influenced approach, as the poignant piano melody and Deheza’s soothing voice come together to create one of the most touching songs on the album. The lyrics add an extra layer of emotion here, as they clearly seem to be about Curtis’s struggle with his illness. Production-wise, SVIIB feels much more open and crisp than Ghostory and previous works, which suits the music well overall. There’s a very vivid, almost adventurous sort of feel throughout the album, from the bouncing, percussive rhythm of “Music Takes Me” to the lucid, vibrant synthesizers on “This Is Our Time”.

More than anything, SVIIB shines in the sense that there’s a dominating sense of hope flowing through it. Alejandra Deheza herself stated that she didn’t want working on the album to be a sad thing, and it shows. Sure, songs such as “Open Your Eyes” and “Confusion” tug at the heartstrings, but they never come off as mopey or depressing. Take “Confusion”, for example; the song itself is very quiet and serene, composed mainly of a restrained synth harmony and ambient noise. Despite the solemn vibe, however, there’s no forlorn or despairing feelings emanating from the track, and it segues straight into “This Is Our Time”, which easily qualifies as the most uplifting song on the album and possibly School of Seven Bells’ discography. There’s still this comfortable, almost joyful tone pulsing through the music, and that’s ultimately the greatest strength of SVIIB.

In an interview with GQ magazine, when asked if she saw SVIIB as a eulogy, Alejandra Deheza responded by saying, “... when I see this record, I see that creative blast was there with this person I shared my life with for ten years. It’s a celebration to me personally,”. I’d be inclined to agree, because from start to finish, SVIIB revels in the fervor and legacy of School of Seven Bells. It serves as the perfect closure to the band’s legacy, and a final nod to Benjamin Curtis as a musician. It’s passionate and even a bit sentimental at times, but just like the band itself, it ends on a high note.



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2016


4408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

somehow, i get this thing out the same day our favorite klapper writes a blog post about it. stream is available on spotify. thanks to gameofmetal and talonsoffire for proofreading. as always, criticism is welcome.

Kubrick
March 11th 2016


793 Comments


Nice review man. Really digging this album a lot. I think "On My Heart" might be my favorite track of the year so far.

LotusFlower
March 11th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is pretty great stuff

LordePots
March 11th 2016


37834 Comments


not sure how much ive enjoyed this bands direction post alpinisms (altho both albums were still good) but stoked to hear this regardless

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2016


11734 Comments


such symmetry

wowe

Hopelust
March 11th 2016


2737 Comments


THIS IS OUT!? FUUUUU

RadicalEd
March 12th 2016


8538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

feature this.

Digging: Blood Cultures - Happy Birthday

LotusFlower
March 13th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i love how uplifting this album sounds, its hard to explain but its just so nice and warm.

RadicalEd
March 14th 2016


8538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This sounds like the last Chairlift album, except it's actually good.

LotusFlower
March 14th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

doesnt sound a thing like chairlift

Keyblade
March 14th 2016


24825 Comments


I loved their last album, will give this a go

RadicalEd
March 21st 2016


8538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Last song is beautiful.

Hopelust
March 24th 2016


2737 Comments


I'm surprised this didn't cause more of a stir around this site. Alejandra Deheza and the late Benjamin curtis were a powerhouse of creative brilliance. The story behind this album is so bittersweet as well.

LordePots
April 30th 2016


37834 Comments


Alejandra is 10/10

rabidfish
October 10th 2016


2700 Comments


this starts weak, but it picks up steam by the 3rd track. There is some strong Ray Of Light era Madonna vibes on this. Liking it quite a bit, really!

As Clovs said, this sounds very positive and reassuring.



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