The very niftiest things about School of Seven Bells have nothing to do with its music and everything to do with its name. The Brooklyn outfit got its moniker from the final exam of a South American pickpocket academy rumored to exist in the ’80s, and when they’re in the mood to abbreviate, they go by SVIIB. The latter is a small aesthetic decision, but the abbreviation's chic and compact sensibility conveys a poised beauty that complements their sound.
Ghostory, the group’s third and latest record, focuses on pretty, softly lit Dream Pop/Indie Rock driven by streams of sparkling, restrained reverb and Alejandra Deheza's fairylike vocals. The downside is that SVIIB can be too good-looking for their own good, as Ghostory’s glossiness leaves its world feeling shallow despite its attractiveness.
The group traces their roots back to the bands Secret Machines and On!Air!Library! In 2007, Machines' Ben Curtis teamed up with O!A!L! members/identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza to form School, with the band issuing debut full-length Alpinisms in '08. Disconnect From Desire followed in 2010, but then in October of that year, Claudia exited the group due to the frustratingly vague “personal reasons.”
Curtis and Alejandra have yet to fill the vacancy but really don’t have to; for all of Ghostory’s moments of artificiality, it still aces at building atmosphere — a detail that should transfer to SVIIB’s shows easily.
SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS perform Friday, Aug. 24 at Fountain Square with Way Yes and Soapland. Check out performance times and get venue details here.