STOP ME IF YOU THINK YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE
After scaling dizzy heights with their debut album Alpinisms, our expectations for the second outing of School of Seven Bells were considerable. They do not disappoint. Nor do they truly surprise. Disconnect From Desire once again envelops us in their sandstorm of noise, the delicate ripple of Benjamin Curtis' guitar and flutter of synthetic rhythms set against the fragile-as-fine-bone-china vocals of identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza.
The major criticism here is that they do not dare to deviate. This follow-up is often so alike their first outing that – like Alejandra and Claudia – the two could easily be mistaken for one another. What's more, all paths continue to lead back to shoegaze central. Listen to those rough hewn guitars on 'Windstorm' for proof of their continued infatuation with the likes of My Bloody Valentine. In addition to the classic scuffed guitars, they add electronic substance, as on the throbbing 'Dust Devil', and beats-driven bump and grind of 'Camarilla'. 'I L U' finds the trio indulging in the scratchy dream-pop sound modelled of late by Beach House and eschewing lyrical vagueness to declare themselvers in affectingly heartfelt terms.
The penultimate 'Bye Bye Bye' finds them embracing the Cocteau Twins ethereal aesthetic, before 'The Wait' carries us towards the end on a gentle trickle of guitar, barely-there vocals and electronic swirl. Ultimately, what's here is marginally more strident than their debut, the transcendental fug lifted slightly to highlight elements that we hitherto hadn't fully picked up on. Overall, though, the changes are subtle rather than striking. As instances of musical déjà vu go, however, Disconnect From Desire is well worth savouring.