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Ghostory Import

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Amazon's School of Seven Bells Store


Image of album by School of Seven Bells


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School of Seven Bells (often just SVIIB) is a three-piece band formed by Benjamin Curtis of Secret Machines, together with identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, formerly of On! Air! Library!. The band is named after the School of the Seven Bells, a mythical South American pickpocket training ... Read more in Amazon's School of Seven Bells Store

Visit Amazon's School of Seven Bells Store
for 11 albums, 6 photos, discussions, and more.

Product details

  • Audio CD (28 Feb. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Universal Music Distribution
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,269 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Grace Poole on 15 Mar. 2015
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Love this CD. It's not often that I like every track on an album, but never use the skip button on this one!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Exquisite. 28 Feb. 2012
By Rudolph Klapper - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The concept surrounding Ghostory is flimsy at best - the running narrative of a girl named Lafaye and all the ghosts that one would expect to surround a girl with such a Victorian name. The loss of Claudia Deheza robs School of Seven Bells of one of their most distinctive characteristics, the angelic, unearthly harmonizing between Claudia and twin sister Alejandra. Yet Ghostory, the band's third record and their first as a duo, is uncommonly strong and surefooted, a remarkable transformation of their gossamer-thin dream pop into something vigorous and visceral. Where 2010's lackluster Disconnect from Desire was all style and little substance, Ghostory is surprisingly forceful and direct in its message, one that melds almost seamlessly the sublime drone of My Bloody Valentine with the nostalgia of M83. It's dreamy and hopelessly untethered from straightforward pop, like School of Seven Bells have always been, yet for the first time Ghostory sounds like the work of an organic, spontaneous band, rather than the determined sculptors of hypnotic, icy shoegaze they had seemed content to remain.

Ghostory carries with it connotations of magic and spirituality, and if there's an ideal word to describe Alejandra Deheza's vocals, a good place to start would be "otherworldly." Hers is a voice that prefers to soar rather than coo, speeding along through a storm of synths or layering on top of itself many times over, a more ethereal Florence Welch or a druggier Natasha Khan. At times it seems fragile, like on the soft, sprawling "Reappear," shimmering above waves of reverb, but that's an illusion - Deheza has never sounded as confident yet so tempestuous, more in touch with what she's singing than ever before. School of Seven Bells have always tended to focus on the trees rather than the forest - as a result, the music they crafted was, more often than not, opulent but uncomfortably empty, something beautiful that could be admired but never touched. Opener "The Night" swiftly puts that notion to sleep: "our meeting lit a fuse in my heart / devoured me, devoured me," Deheza sings, and it's lovely and airy, as she always is, yet there's a passion and a sensuality here that has been hard to find with this band.

The music seems effortless, which is an accomplishment in itself given just how complicated School of Seven Bells makes things. There's a veritable blizzard of effects here, washing tones out while they brighten others, coalescing in misty bursts of guitar and mesmerizing drum attacks, a steady, mutating bass line bubbling constantly underneath. Benjamin Curtis' former work as a member of The Secret Machines informs every aspect of the production here - that space-rock trio specialized in widescreen, full surround sound operas, the proggiest of the prog. That love of expanse, of wide open sound filling every space and constant shifts into lulls and crescendos, is what defines Ghostory. Deheza's vocals are the driving force, of course, but the way Curtis makes the music dive into your headphones - at points rolling to an ecstatic high on the frantic "White Wind," at others reducing things to a narcotic lull on "Show Me Love" - is pure feeling. There's a heavy goth influence on things here, even as sparkling and lush as the production gets, and the drone of Cocteau Twins and the haunting new wave of Siouxsie and the Banshees, not to mention the hazy landscapes of My Bloody Valentine, are much in evidence throughout. Atmosphere is the priority here, yet it's a testament to Curtis' work and Deheza's renewed fire that the songs on Ghostory stand well enough on their own. "The Night" might be the best track the duo have penned to date, concise by their own standards yet voluminous in its sound, with a hook that is as compelling as any in the band's catalog. "Lafaye," meanwhile, is haunting and vaguely foreboding; its melody calls to mind Florence's "What The Water Gave Me," but its chorus and the unexpected tonal shift are, simply put, enchanting.

It's hard to explain what kind of emotions these songs engender, and I can imagine it will be different for everyone - that's the beauty of this kind of dreamy canvas, where the words are much less important than the spirit of the vocals and the nebulous music. There's the general ghost story conceit, of course, but that's as much a smokescreen as it is a real narrative. At times I hear Alejandra talking to her twin, and there's loss and regret, while at others, most noticeably the triumphant closer "When You Sing," there is a simple catharsis, the culmination of a relentless drum pattern and a blizzard of instruments, not the least of which is Deheza's vocals spinning wondrously out into a psychedelic haze. It reminds me a bit of M83's latest, where lyrics were second to the vital, intense feelings the music offered up. It's also incredibly hard to pin down without resorting to an embarrassing array of adjectives and metaphors. Dream pop, goth, shoegaze - call it what you want, but what School of Seven Bells have ended up with is a genuinely gorgeous record by any standard.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Album 29 Feb. 2012
By A. Wathen - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is an extremely great listen and I recommend it highly.

The marriage of lilting, trip-hop vocals and complex, beat-driven grooves that School of Seven Bells brings to the table is refined to a new level in this, their third album.

Ghostory is decidedly better than the bulk of Disconnect from Desire, their second album that was somewhat lackluster. It's also more focused than their tremendously well-produced eclectic first album, Alpinisms. I don't know that I would call it better, as they are largely different animals, but it's definitely just as good, in my book.

Every track is extremely listenable, yet also haunting and complex. If your musical tastes are somewhat off the beaten path, you should definitely pick this up.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Strong Effort But I Miss The Harmonies 8 Mar. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
When Claudia Deheza left the band in 2010, I worried for the future of this band. The harmonies in Alpinisms were what stood the band out from most others. There are times listening to Ghostory that I think could have been even better had the band stayed intact but Alejandra has a flawless voice of her own and it does carry the album. Ghostory is an improvement over Disconnect from Desire but not quite up to the level of Alpinisms
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Soaring and exciting 1 April 2012
By T. Dimock - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My favorite songs, "The Night", "Scavenger", and the big finale, "When You Sing", typify the soaring vocals and immense wall-to-wall sound that make this album so exciting to listen to, especially in good headphones. I got goose-bumps I was so moved by "When You Sing". This is a great "Indie" group that makes music such a joy to hear. Good songwriting and production. Buy the CD and support this talented group.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
SVIIB - Live Ghosts 28 May 2013
By Scott Daly - Published on
Format: Audio CD
"Ghost Story" by School of Seven Bells is some very cool s***. At first it plays like just a continuation of their previous record, "Disconnect From Desire". But that ends up being a very good thing because that was some pretty cool s*** too, and now shows a band with a sound focus, an identity that doesn't shift with trendy winds and knows what they're after. "Disconnect" consisted of sisters Alejandre and Claudia Deheza and Benjamin Curtis. On "Ghost Story" we're down to just Alejandra and Benjamin, perhaps contributing to the sense of focus. Eastern motifs, driving grooves and interludes of atmospherics make both records a compelling listen, the kind where you just hit the replay button because with each listen another song becomes another favorite. The lyrics are smart and insightful, dwelling on heartbreak and desertion, but with the songwriting credits split between the two, the perspectives are ambiguous and the end result is really like a "Ghost Story". Alejandra's strong, steady voice conveys a kind of knowing futility in some of the lyrics, tragically found in hindsight, and she has great control, never over-emoting. In songs like "The Night", "Love Play", and "Reappear", simple truths are found in retrospect, and the words and voice arrangement on "Low Times" border on brilliant, where some douchebag guys (chicks?) might even recognize themselves. Alejandra is indeed beautiful, and some chicks got pain in the ass written all over them, but with words this smart, you gotta wonder what kind of jerk would dump on her in the first place. "Scavenger" and "White Wind" are dense and heavy, punctuated with lush and inventive vocal arrangements. But most importantly, what makes all this wordplay work are the infectious grooves and atmospheric instrumentation layered beneath that move these songs along with growing anticipation of the next track. Dark and light, this is very modern, thoughtful, well recorded and executed stuff for listeners with brains and heart, original enough to defy comparison to anyone else, though some might think they are Sisters of Mercy fans.
SVIIB, "Ghost Story", and "Disconnect From Desire". Highly recommended.
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