school of seven bells disconnect from desire
    • THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2010

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    There is a certain kind of song, a certain all encompassing rush of melody, of lush, feathered effects, a quiet beauty, a dedicated voice, that creates an atmosphere so rich, so vivid, cast in tones the band dictates, bound by an expressive self awareness, all swirling to build up to another world, that lingers and begs for more indulgent escape, that School of Seven Bells, on Disconnected From Desire masters. The album title suggests a detachment that manifests in the soft noises and thick echoes in their songs, which somehow, at its heart, reveals vulnerabilities that are all too human, products of a too passionate desire.

    When the thud of the drum leads to the orchestrated vocals of "Bye Bye Bye" for instance, the farewell is sang with a pretty, optimism painted sadness, a sadness hinted at in minor notes. But when the build up of a rich chorus, those flickering specks of sound spirals, it's a sadness with an understanding smile, an ex lover who has gone beyond resentment, to a wishful contentment, a butterfly goodbye, a cool sonic indulgence. "Camarilla" shivers with the haunting coldness of the vocals, and a dark, shimmering loneliness in the stormy sounds beneath the crystal voice.

    When they sing "I should be happier now than I'll ever be" on "Heart Is Strange," it's an entirely wistful, empty phrase, and the eerie bleak beauty of the track, and that surprisingly tender call of "darling" fades to "ILU," so that the song carries a weight already (as with the rest of the album, with songs that melt so effortlessly from one to another, a continuous moody dark romance). And when those ghostly voices sing "I want you to know that I loved you," every moment of the song hangs on the past tense.

    "The Wait" floats in a timeless, exquisite beauty, over a coldly stable melody, but when they sing, the ethereal voices pleads for time, for slipping into this world, of expansive night skies and soft trails, where everything so easily dissolves. And when the album finishes with the gem that is "Windstorm," a wondrous, surprisingly cheerful compilation of all the scattered emotions, dreams, stories that was the album, it is a precious end, a complete trip to School of Seven Bells's world, where distant beauty dangles with alluring smiles. -laura yan

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