Under Review: School Of Seven Bells – Disconnect From Desire

Though their debut album, Alpinisms, featured plenty to get excited about, the fact of the matter is that too many of School Of Seven Bells’ songs weren’t very memorable.  Sure, there’s the eerie thwomp of “Iamundernodisguise” and the jumpy “Wired For Light,” but the set favored ethereal dreamscapes over proper hooks.  With Disconnect From Desire, the trio makes a noted effort to make themselves indispensible mainstays of the electronica community, and they do so in stunning fashion.  Though the Deheza twins’ intertwined voices often make lyrics difficult to decipher (and, hence, remember), the overall tone of the new album is a vast improvement on their already extraordinary sound.  Nearly every track features a danceable, Honey’s Dead-ish beat, with opening pair “Windstorm” and “Heart Is Strange” being particularly party-ready.  This time around, School Of Seven Bells sound like they’re going for a more polished, new wave-influenced sound that recalls contemporaries like Ladytron and M83.  It’s a strange balance between dark and light; a contrast for which the trio are no doubt proud for making so immediately discernable.

What’s really great about Disconnect From Desire is that it never loses its pulse.  Other bands might want to focus on their more intricately arranged slow pieces, but School Of Seven Bells’ upbeat songs are so impressively dense that they also adequately suggest hours of studio fiddling.  Right in the middle of the album is “Babelonia,” which might just be the best of the new batch.  It’s the perfect balance between musical and lyrical haze and straightforward craft.  All of the songs on Disconnect From Desire seem to be more focused than most of those on Alpinisms.  There’s no 11-minute tunes this time, but that almost cliché inclusion has been replaced with more carefully constructed (not to mention easily digestible) tunes.  I’m not sure if this would’ve made for a better debut than Alpinisms, since that album definitely had its charms despite its shortcomings.  Instead, Disconnect From Desire is everything you could want in a band’s second album: familiar sounds reworked in new and exhilarating ways.

~ by E. on July 12, 2010.

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