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School Of Seven Bells “Connjur”

04/22/2011
School Of Seven Bells (SVIIB) opened for Interpol in Austin tonight and a friend offered me tickets. A year ago, I would have made it happen even though I’m pretty indifferent to Interpol. Unfortunately, that same attitude has infected SVIIB since the release of last year’s Disconnect From Desire. It’s weird, the little nuances that can shift obsession/identification with an artist to indifference and distance. For SVIIB, it was my perception of a shift in their lyrics from a searching, questioning approach to a more confrontational one. “Connjur” offers a little of both and blows a nice hole in my thesis.
An oddly-accented dance rhythm carries the whole song and is the first thing to get my attention, but it’s Alejandra Deheza’s clear voice and bold lyrics that command the track from there on:
“How does someone with nothing end up with so much to show for it?”
– Here’s that middle way that works so well throughout Alpinisms. Calling someone out for superficiality but doing it via a question, even a passive-aggressive one. As the rest of the first and second verses makes clear, the subject of the song can be as general as the tendency toward prizing the pretty lies you tell yourself instead of deeper relationships and wisdom, or as specific as any person who fits the bill.
“Those who say dreams are just dreams, say words end when you can’t hear them. Listen closely as they fade, and witness the world’s construction”
– This is where I fall in love with the song. The soaring vocal harmonies (twin sister Claudia chimes in here) underline this succinct defense of taking the dream-state seriously. It’s a positive argument, sung with a tone that’s combines pleading and pride, and if I have to pick my favorite SVIIB moment, it’s this.
This acoustic version recorded for Stereogum is a great companion to the electronic pulse and fuzz-guitar on the album. I’m still grateful that people who can make such beautiful acoustic music have enough love of noise and dance music that they don’t get lost in the singer/songwriter abyss.
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