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Boomkat Product Review:
Cueing up a second long-player, School Of Seven Bells return with an album that fleshes out some of the ideas initiated on their debut, Alpinisms, developing their sound in all the right ways. Although on paper this band deal in electronic pop music, there's undoubtedly more afoot here than on your average synth-wielding opus. The phrase wall-of-sound inevitably tends to crop up in writing about this band, and sure enough, 'Windstorm' is a brilliantly textural opener, surging through My Bloody Valentine-inspired electronic layering while the doubled-up vocal presence of sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza makes for a distinctive dynamic - something that's put to good use right across this record, never more so than on 'Heart Is Strange', a great harmonised number that deals in a New Order-like treatment of guitars. The drum programming across Disconnect From Desire is worth a mention too: you never think of these beats as being inert or machined, largely because they're so cleverly embedded into the mix. Production comes courtesy of the band's own Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines), and while it's often dense and amped up, there are moments of clarity; when the clouds of noise and electricity disperse a little the sense of space greatly benefits the sisters' delivery on the honeyed dream-pop of 'I L U'. On the odd occasion when SVIIB (as the shorthand goes) do revert to more conventional '80s-inspired synth-pop arrangements, the results aren't quite so distinctively crafted, although despite that, 'Camarilla' - one of the more brittle productions - is still a strikingly assured and melodic affair. At every turn on this sophomore effort School Of Seven Bells sound like a complete package.