School of Seven Bells’ “Disconnect From Desire”

“I think Disconnect From Desire may surprise SVIIB fans . . .” -LW

Luke Goddard

out of 10

Disconnect From Desire
July 13, 2010

Confession. I have had a crush on Stevie Nicks for as long as I can remember and settling into Disconnect From Desire I could feel those familiar butterflies in my stomach. A SVIIB fan before the release of this latest album, I never would have likened their brand of electronic shoegaze dream pop with Fleetwood Mac’s bluesy, new age, gypsy vocalist, but the spell of Disconnect from Desire definitely invoked some of Nicks’s more notable work (“Stand Back” and “Edge of Seventeen” come immediately to mind) and I will fight anyone who tells me I’m wrong (female recording artists from Courtney Love to Belinda Carlisle to Mary J. Blige have cited Ms. Nicks as an influence, so this isn’t entirely unfounded). Maybe it is the feeling of the album. Yes, the hipsters dig it, but the mood is all feathers and mysticism and stop-motion landscapes, day into night into day. But not to worry! despite the above, your favorite SVIIB elements are present and accounted for: distorted sounds, synth, ethereal vocals, and shifting soundscapes.

I think Disconnect From Desire may surprise SVIIB fans; the sound of the record is different, more direct, if not more produced, than Alpinisms. Criticism of the album discusses the band’s departure from the more intellectual previous record, especially given their creative method of developing lyrics first and using melody only to augment. Personally, I find no sin in putting out a collection of purely-for-your-listening-pleasure solid dream pop and I would bet this one translates exceptionally well to a live performance (one I will be sure not to miss when they pass through Brooklyn next month).

My favorites of the album include the opening track “Windstorm,” “Heart Is Strange,” and “Babelonia.”

–Lindsey Whitefield, August 5, 2010