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Boomkat Product Review:
**NOW AT A SPECIAL LOW PRICE!!!** School Of Seven Bells is a collaborative electronic pop group formed by Benjamin Curtis of Secret Machines and On!Air!Library!'s Alejandra and Claudia Dehaza. Both groups had scored support slots on an Interpol tour, resulting in an on-and-off collaboration that produced short-form releases on labels like Table Of The Elements, Sonic Cathedral and Warp (which hosted a collaboration between SVIIB and Prefuse 73 last year). Alpinism is the band's full-length debut, and a glancing listen suggests that the swell of hype attached to the group has been well-earned. The first three songs constitute a potent triumvate of hook-laden pop gems, setting the album on course for success from the offing: 'Iamundernodisguise' is a noisy, clanking mantra that establishes the conditions governing much of Alpinism: tight vocal harmonies, molasses-thick production and coarse undercurrents of distortion are the essential components, all of which seem immediately more refined on follow-up track 'Face To Face On High Places'. Although it's a more focused, less noisy affair, this electronic pop is no waifish Postal Service knock-off, and the grinding, looped beats provide a muscular counterpoint to the blissful vocals. Influences like Pluramon's Dreams Top Rock and Lali Puna's technologically driven lullabies all spring to mind when listening to the wonderful 'Half Asleep'. Combining deft digital programming, Cocteau Twins-style euphoria and woozy Kevin Shields guitars, the choruses are enough to get those hairs standing on end, and once again, there's enough strangeness in the production to elevate the music into something rather unique and very special. Channelling the band's experimental side, 'For Kalaja Mari' drifts on a tide of fuzz and Oval-mimicking digital glitchery, while 'Sempiternal/Amaranth' occupies eleven minutes of celestial krautrock propulsion. A stunning, exciting debut and very possibly one of the year's finest pop records.