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SVIIB will be the final album from Brooklyn’s School of Seven Bells. In 2012, School of Seven Bells recorded some demos for a new record, a time which singer Alejandra Dejeza described as “one of the most creative and inspired summers of our lives”. In 2013, guitarist/keyboardist Benjamin Curtis became ill and was diagnosed with lymphoma. The band took a break, and sadly, Curtis did not recover and passed away in December of that year. However, instead of abandoning the recordings from 2012, Deheza made sure these works-in-progress would be released as the final SVIIB record. The result is SVIIB, a beautiful record that exemplifies everything that School of Seven Bells is.
From the first track, “Ablaze”, SVIIB seems triumphant, it’s everything School of Seven Bells is about, catchy synth work, floating vocals and lush harmonies. That continues on “On My Heart”, which features Deheza sounding almost robotic with over-sampled harmonies. “Open Your Eyes” is a beautiful track that may feature some of Deheza’s best and most heartfelt lyrics, “Open your eyes dear, you’ve got me crying”. “A Thousand Times More” kicks off with a grungy guitar lick before it kicks into the pre-programmed electronic drums and synth, elevating the vocals, bringing the song to an ethereal place for the chorus.
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“Elias” is another stunning track. It’s a beautiful, slow build that becomes huge towards the end. “Signals” is a real groovy track, featuring really awesome sampled vocals and a dense wall of sound for the chorus. The same goes for “Music Takes Me”, which has some fantastic effects throughout as well. The penultimate track is “Confusion”. Built around Dejeza’s vocals, the song is slight and even simple, yet it soars with a heart-wrenching lushness that encapsulates the history of SVIIB. The record comes to a close with “This Is Our Time”, with Deheza singing “Our time is indestructible”, a beautiful final statement from School of Seven Bells and in honor of Curtis.
School Of Seven Bells released some of the most interesting and innovative music of the last ten years. While the lineup of the band changed, the core was always Alejandra Deheza and Benjamin Curtis. They were a perfect team – Deheza’s weightless voice mixed with Curtis’ incredibly lush soundscapes always led to something truly beautiful. SVIIB has been described as a “love letter” by Deheza, and you can tell it was handled with care, passion, and an undying affection.
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