This third record Ghostory from much praised New York outfit School of Seven Bells sees the band finding a new headspace. The now two piece (Member Claudia Deheza left in 2010 for personal reasons) comprised of Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza’s new record was recorded in a much more intimate manner than previous albums, with increased collaboration on ideas and recording which is evident in Ghostory’s tight considered sound. In fact even a member down, the record has far more of an identity than the previous two, and finds School of Seven Bells coming to terms with their signature sound. This, coupled with an intriguing concept based around a young girl’s journey through life surrounded by ghosts of her past, makes Ghostory a promising prospect.

The album starts strongly, with ‘The Night’ a sweeping ethereal track which calls to mind better moments of the group’s superb debut album Alpinisms, with added pace courtesy of the unyielding motoric beat whizzing away beneath the chorus. ‘Lafaye’ meanwhile is a more sweeping disco tinged track, sharing the same grandiose nature as old favourites like ‘Half Asleep’. The album’s young protagonist Lafaye is also introduced to us through the track, majestically in a swirl of siren song and glorious shoegazing guitar noise. It becomes apparent that this new record is much more dynamic and driving that we might be used to from School of Seven Bells, which is thoroughly reinforced by the 6 minute entirely danceable ‘Low Times’. Sounding similar to Ladytron in their prime, the track is quite repetitive, but this is hard to notice as you’re more likely to be getting lost in the rhythm than bogged down in the song’s looping arrangement.





There are moments of tenderness present on Ghostory too, such as album highpoint ‘Love Play’. Deheza’s lyrics in the song deal with becoming apathetic towards putting up with a lover ("this wasted heart you take for granted is tired out") and the complex games involved in relationships as she chimes "The longer I stay the more you need me." It’s honest, effecting and relatable, and wholly showcases School of Seven Bells’ dexterity with lyrics, as well as their beautiful haunting musical soundscapes. Unfortunately the sensitivity of ‘Love Play’ isn’t shared by some of the other tracks; ‘Reappear’ is certainly evocative but gets lost in its own whirling atmospherics, and ‘Show Me Love’ is a bit of a dud, which could easily be at home atop the cinema credits following a particularly awful action film trying to justify its own epic intentions. Luckily the album’s ending two tracks are near-faultless pieces of musical excellence. ‘White Wind’s bopping bassline and fast drums with Deheza’s epic statements like “my heart is betrayed by silence” makes for a bracing listen and one that could happily get bodies moving if it desired to.

By the album’s last song, the stunning 8 minute marathon ‘When You Sing’ the ghostly concept has faded away like a soul at peace, instead replaced by the memory of great album with abundant ambition and all-encompassing walls of haunting noise. It’s perhaps slightly ironic that School of Seven Bells’ ghost themed record has in fact made their sound feel more alive than ever, but it is certainly very exciting.