Review: School of Seven Bells – Alpinisms

How would I describe the sound created by School of Seven Bells?

Imagine ambient dance music sung by twin sisters.

Can it be that simple?  Errrrr, yes.  I’ve thought about that a bit more and it is still holding true after listening to their debut album Alpinisms more than several times.  However, for you dear reader I will try and dive a little further…

Don’t look for lyrical depth here, this isn’t an album where you need to struggle to catch every word to understand some truer meaning of the album itself.  Instead just let yourself drift across the electronic soundscape as the group explore a variety of styles and influences.  As an example, the fourth song on the album “Wired for Light” sounds like a successful melding of Depeche Mode with a double dose of Emiliana Torrini.  The final effect is a pastiche of electrical grunge and echoing angelic vocals which manages to be both uplifting and simplistic at the same time.

I’ll be honest with you and say that I haven’t been following the New York music scene,  I found the group via a review in the Guardian (Rock Review: School of Seven Bells, Alpinisms).  The album is well worth a listen to, although I feel it is definitely more of a digital download than an all out CD purchase.  For me the standout tracks are:

  • Wired For Light – One of the heavier and slightly darker tracks on the album, but then remember that this is a “pop” ambient album, so darkness is relative.  Great grungey heaps of electronica!
  • Chain – Synthesised happiness with just a little too much vocoder and a strange beep sound that reminds me repeatedly of Eddie Grant’s Electric Avenue, but can you go wrong with a lyric “I can’t seem to remember my dreams lately”?
  • My Cabal – Released as a single and for obvious reasons.  A wall of sounds that wraps around your like cotton candy mountains!

If you want to give the band a try before you buy, go and visit their Myspace page where you can listen to Chain amongst other tracks.  If you like what you hear you can purchase the album as a digital download from Amazon by clicking the following link: digital download: School of Seven Bells – Alpinisms


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