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Ghostory

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
Claudia Deheza's exit from School of Seven Bells was not a typical case of shrinking band membership. It claimed a rare attribute and a significant attraction: sibling harmonies, once shared with remaining twin Alejandra Deheza. That's not something that can be replaced or covered up in the studio. While the absence of the twins' harmonies are missed on Ghostory, School of Seven Bells' third album, the sound of the group -- now a duo of Deheza and Ben Curtis -- is as lushly layered as ever, with spectral textures and propulsive dance rhythms, both programmed and played, equally affecting. Deheza's vocals are multi-tracked and arranged so effectively that some listeners might not long for her sister's presence. According to Deheza and Curtis, Ghostory is "the tale of a young girl named Lafaye and the ghosts that surround her life." If this concept was developed prior to the material, it evidently pushed the two to write their most open and direct material to date, evident from the album's first lines: "The light of day gives me no relief/Because I see you in everything." Past comparisons to Curve were drawn due to sonic similarities; while they would still make sense, there is a new, comparable frankness when it comes to addressing exes. Like Curve's Toni Halliday, Deheza doesn't recoil from confrontation ("You wanna take, 'cause you're a coward"), but there's a certain sense of lingering vulnerability rather than glaring bitter numbness. The album also features some of School of Seven Bells' finest light and heavy material, from the all-synths/percussion-less ballad "Reappear" to the racing "White Wind" and pummeling "When You Sing" -- the latter two of which form a potent, closing section that is cathartic and uplifting, yet palpably haunted nonetheless. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi