Most bands never tame the kind of un-explained, creative vigor that helped inspire School of Seven Bells' stunning, sophomore album Disconnect From Desire. An absolute tour de force of a record, the collection weaves sophisticated washes of electronic pastiches, gentle yet affecting vocal harmonies, ferocious rhythmic back bones, and emotional flights of pen together in to the kind of intense listening experience that puts all senses on high alert. Explains the band's guitarist and resident producer Ben Curtis, "The idea for the record...the sound of it, the content, the title, the way it was going to go down...it hit us like a bolt of lightning. It happened really quickly, and it was written in a much more concise period of time. So it's much more a moment of our lives".
That moment's artistic representation is impressive to say the least. So much so we've had a hard time following the enlightened advice the band etched across the cover of Disconnect.... No, we've wanted to work with SVIIB for far too long, and the band's recent release only intensified that desire. Last month we got our wish, perching the band high atop a rooftop in the West Village for a golden hour segment of The Guest Apartment.
What follows is a compelling moment of it's own, standing in sharp contrast to the robust nature of Disconnect.... Here, four of that album's richest tracks get trimmed down to acoustic threads rarely seen from this electro-rock three piece. A pair of acoustic guitars, some enriching synthetics, and Claudia and Alejandra Deheza's lovely harmonies: that's all the band needs to shape this bewitching performance.
However, in retrospect, there is one problem that immediately comes to mind. I suspect our latest segment of The Guest Apartment will also make it hard for you to follow the band's sage advice. No, School of Seven Bells will only leave you desiring just a bit more of this extraordinary band. - David Pitz
immediate thing where we were like we're starting the band tomorrow. We were all on tour with separate bands he was on tour with Secret Machines and the band we were in On!Air!Library! and we all got together to tour with Interpol. You know it took like a couple of years for us to actually get going with it. fresh for us. I think we knew that if we were gonna make music together we'd make it in a way that we'd never made it before. We have a really similar vision and we-- really similar tastes, but really different approaches. So if you're really gonna interact with someone it kinda changes the way you work as well. And I think it was for the better for all three of us. I know I know You don't have to be cruel But time has a heart for cruelty And I'm not a fool I know It's what you do I know more than you think I do I know I know I don't have to be cruel Though I have a heart for cruelty But you've made me choose I know better than you do I know why you do what you do I know how to do what you do Better than you I see you I see you Dismantled as the dust Caught up by the wind Forgotten as the dust Caught up by the wind Dismantled as the dust Caught up by the wind Forgotten as the dust Caught up by the wind like, it's to banish harmful, I guess energies or which can be interpreted as people or bad habits or something like that in your life. -And that's what that song is about. I don't know I was looking through like oblique strategies one day and I pulled a card and the card said disconnect from desire and I was like, wow that sounds like an awesome record. this moment where we thought well now we have to make a record. It was just like, I think halfway through it we realized wow we're making a record this is great, you know, it just started coming out. It's totally confidence, you know. We're really, really confident and the thing is also that's different about disconnect from desire it, the idea for the record just the sound of it, the content, the title, the way it was gonna go down it just hit us like a bolt of lightning and it happened really quickly and a lot of it, it was written in a much more concise period of time. So it's like much more a moment of our lives than Alpinisms was which is kinda like, all of this kind of time spent getting to know each other. the first time we all made something together and it was such a long kind of filtering process, I think. practice run almost for Disconnect from Desire for me I think. I hear it and I see all the learning that happened. Like how to how to be School of Seven Bells and like that whole record was us finding out what we love to do and what makes us happy in music and by the end of it we were really there, it's like we knew what was-- what worked, ya know and so when we made this record Disconnect from Desire we started from the place where we knew how to make sounds that work for us. There are so many things I wish I knew how to say In a way that you'd understand But I can't So many times I've tried Looking into your eyes for a sign That maybe you feel the same But you don't I didn't realize I'd lost so many nights Just trying to lose the pain And I was a fool to think It'd be easier to leave Than to be left behind I want you to know that I loved you I want you to know that I loved you Watching the day break And fighting the urge to sleep 'Cause my dreams won't let this die All I can see and hear In the dark is you And it's hard to breathe 'Cause all I feel when I do Is this aching heart I want you to know that I loved you I want you to know that I loved you I want you to know that I loved you I want you to know that I loved you do you think about that song Ally? having to-- let somebody go just because things have changed things have evolved and you you never stopped loving the person but you just have to move on and that's what that song is about. Third one. killer Ally. know! I need a-- OK. Third one was Windstorm. That songs not, not glum. It's just about kind of like-- being like-- being the calm in your situation and even if that means you have to do the opposite of what's going on, if there's chaos, you need to be calm, if there's something that just-- if your stagnant something is happening there you just need to be that force that starts mixing things up. Wind mills cut through, the voids of hiding the Imagine then truth the eyes neglect to see what The heart pursues then my heart finds a dream in me It sees you in the untouchable That's not to say that I don't feel the limitations and the Dropped from the expectation its not lying But the heart of creation is the only Thing proven true to me When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm Time passed has shown shadows of where my shoulder That has goes on, movement of my desires Lost like a storm, cast out and wished into A well with no sound, you'll answer at the end When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm When the fires burn and from sky to ground Swing my weight around, begin the windstorm Brian Collins that does all of our artwork and we were talking about iconography in general and that kind of symbols and that kind of the power of them the way they sort of bypass language in your brain and it's just pure meaning and so much more complex than a word. It's kind of like a really personalized iconography, you know you make. It's a way of kind of reducing these words down into a shape that's personal to you and kind of contains the meaning of those words that you write down. It means Disconnect from Desire to me, even more than that, it means, just the music it means all of that to me now. Joviann, I have no use for histories My mind catches only the loudest of The brightest storms It's no mystery That the night begins as a roving wind that Summons the earth From under my feet And I see the grains one after another Go up in the drift Encircling me I used to love The end of the night When the sun would break through The seam of the horizon but now Joviann Things aren't the same No day is complete Because with the moon Love fades away from me I used to love I used to love Joviann, how can I sustain moments like these Oh how the time crumbles out of existence When something has changed And become a need My heart is weighted with a resistance That deadens the pai When you're not with me And I feel the grains one after another Are slipping away I used to love I used to love
School of Seven Bells take their magic seriously. Symbols, myths, mantras-in the hands of sisters/vocalists Alejandra and Claudia Deheza and guitarist/producer Benjamin Curtis (formerly of On!Air!Library! and Secret Machines, respectively), these mystical practices become achingly human, methods of making sense of an emotionally complex world. School of Seven Bells sophomore album Disconnect from Desire-the follow-up to the Brooklyn trios breakthrough debut Alpinisms-takes its title from one of Brian Enos oblique stratagems; its cryptic album image is a "sigil," a mystical figure containing the energy and intent of the album entire. The real magic of Disconnect from Desire, though, lives in its music: ten tracks of soaring, visionary dream-pop from a band working at the height of its powers.
On Disconnect from Desire, School of Seven Bells focus the layered electronic textures and dense lyricism of Alpinisms to a razors point, distilling the music to its essence as guitars ring, beats crunch, and the Deheza sisters voices intertwine with new, right-in-your-ears clarity. "I want you to know that I loved you," Alejandra Deheza intones on "I L U", lending emotional directness to the tracks maelstrom of synthesized atmosphere and gently curving samples; "Babelonia" lays the protagonists wounded psyche atop a deep, baggy beat and overlapping, Stereolab-esque vocal tricks; "Dust Devil" matches a staccato, New Order-style bassline to the Dehezas distended melodies as the trio dips its toes into dance music and comes up glowing; and lead single "Windstorm" deftly evokes Eurythmics pointillist art-pop, slashed through with shoegaze guitars and sweetly menacing falsetto. More than anything, Disconnect from Desire sounds huge, as each instrument and electronic blip complements its partners and contributes to an ever-expanding whole.
Disconnect from Desire is a complete work-an old-fashioned album from forward-thinking minds, as thematically airtight as it is mind-bendingly gorgeous. In the end, the "sigil" on the cover of Disconnect from Desire is the perfect analog to the music: strange yet familiar, exquisitely rendered, breathtaking to behold.