School Of Seven Bells - Ghostory

‘Ghostory’ is fantastically glossy and mystical. This could be their most commercial record yet.

Label: Vagrant

Rating: 7

School Of Seven Bells derive their name from a pickpocket training academy in the Andes mountains, South America’s more mysterious, slick-operating take on Oliver Twist. That seems very fitting indeed when we’re talking about ‘Ghostory’, their third offering.

The band’s debut was a bit of a Fagan character, a loose cannon that had a penchant for pilfered world music. The follow up, ‘Disconnect From Desire’, was more like the Artful Dodger, far more polished, ducking and diving across rhythms and melodies and pocketing a smattering of stars from the critics. As for the most recent? It would seem that Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza have graduated from the school with honours.

‘Ghostory’ apparently focuses on an elusive ghostly girl called Lafaye, which could be a nod to recently departed member Claudia. Then again, it could just be an excuse to make a concept album, because the remaining members don’t sound particularly gloomy about being a man (or rather, woman) down. Apart from in the lo-fi ‘Reappear’ that is, which with ethereal choral vocals and a stripped back feel provides a moment of calm amongst the electro-shoegaze madness that ensues almost everywhere else.

The choral feel also strikes with vengeance in ‘The Night’, which treats us to a rare taster of guitar. ‘Scavenger’ is another ear-treat, plodding along ominously with some extremely creepy synthesisers that have been dragged straight from Soft Cell’s abandoned recording studio.

Bringing to mind the seductive electro of Class Actress and the haunting lyrics of St Vincent, there is nothing fundamentally wrong here: ‘Ghostory’ is fantastically glossy and mystical. This could be their most commercial record yet.