School of Seven Bells – Ghostory album review

From the world indie dream pop comes School of Seven Bells’ Ghostory, the NYC band’s third full-length. Wait – dream pop? I guess there’s been a reemergence of this genre in the past few years, since bands like M83 can be labeled with this genre tag. So, what about School of Seven Bells? How does Ghostory┬ástack up? I reluctantly admit that it’s not as bad as I first thought.

This is the band’s first album as a duo, as Alejandra Dehaza’s sister, Claudia, departed the band after Disconnect from Desire. From the start, it’s an impressive showing of what the band is capable of despite losing a member. “The Night” is a great way to start, with its guitars being put through a number of effects – echoed, delayed, and rather relaxed. Dehaza’s vocals remain the same throughout, dreamy and whisper-like, creating a ghosty ambience. However, that ghosty atmosphere can be a negative. For example, “Reappear” is an almost lifeless track, full of drawn out synth notes. I wouldn’t listen to it while driving on a deserted highway – your mind might wander and your vehicle might veer off the side of the road.

“White Wind” gets back on the right track, having a certain overall urgency for School of Seven Bells’ sound. It’s a personal favorite, along with “Lafaye,” dreamy, but seemingly different from the rest of its fellow tunes. “Scavenger” tends to favor non-vocoded vocals, which I’m totally in favor of – Dehaza’s voice doesn’t always need to be overproduced, and I wish more of the album was like is.

For what it’s worth, Ghostory holds its own in the dream pop department. While it seems like a lot of tracks don’t differentiate themselves from one another, I’ll let it slide. Also, it’s probably an album that is best experienced in the dark. I’d say feel free to lock yourself in a closet with your iPod, tune in, and dream on, dreamers of dream pop.

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