School of Seven Bells: Disconnect from Desire

RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Chapterhouse

Neil Hannon recently quipped in his song “At the Indie Disco” about how “we’re dancing to the beat, and staring at each other’s feet.” One wonders if the indie disco in question was playing School of Seven Bells, because their sophomore album, Disconnect from Desire, is one of the finer shoegazer records from this or any other era (which is to say the only other era, the early ’90s). The drum tracks recall the 808/909 period while maintaining a modern feel, and the harmonies of twin singers Alejandra and Claudia Deheza create the ultimate siren’s call, an ethereal bliss that makes the most crushing one-liner feel like a soft kiss goodnight. “I L U” is the album’s crown jewel, reimagining My Bloody Valentine’s “Soon” as a tender breakup song (bonus points for its dead simple three-note chorus), while the jangly “Babelonia” sends a knowing wink to Jesus Jones’ “International Bright Young Thing” with Deheza’s wavering vocal.


It’s curious that a shoegazer renaissance would take hold in today’s climate, especially when it was only marginally successful the first time around. Ah, but nostalgia is a powerful thing, and there are few periods as beloved by music hounds as the go-go modern rock scene of the early ’90s, when grunge and baggy still coexisted peacefully. Disconnect from Desire distills the ecstasy-fueled elements of those early shoegazer records with a healthy dose of pop songcraft. The end result, at the risk of sounding cliche, is dreamy. (Vagrant/Ghostly International 2010)

School of Seven Bells MySpace page
Click to buy Disconnect from Desire from Amazon