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School of Seven Bells - Chain (Alpinisms)

Monday, March 9, 2009
review by Robbie Santos


The School of Seven Bells is comprised of Benjamin Curtis, along with identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. The track “Chain” comes from their 2008 release Alpinisms, which melds a dream-pop vibe together with an indie-electronic style. The upbeat “Chain” is immediately likeable—vibrant from the outset, but soon takes on an ethereal quality when the vocals from the Dehezas enter the track. The sisters work together in a seamless way with the arrangement; they are an unmistakable presence, but never take the forefront and compliment the dreaminess of the caressing melody.

The trio utilizes an unconventional process in the composition of their songs in that the music is made to shape and to supplement the lyrics. “Chain” is no exception, as the entire piece can essentially be described in the first lyric of the song: “My sleep burrows me a chain of monochromatic rooms/that jangles in the day and recalls a samey drone.” The combination of the haunting, siren-like harmonic unison of the sisters, along with the almost meditative quality that the rhythm takes on, creates a soothing ambiance.

The track is unrelenting in its thoughtful cadence; focusing on one element of the track is almost impossible as the rhythmic guitar, along with the gentle layers of the drums, brings the listener right back to the dream-like vocals. “Chain” states that “I cannot seem to remember my dreams lately” and while being a sentiment that many of us can relate to, it is a lyric that sinks right into the soul of the track and reverberates into a noteworthy composition.

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