School of Seven Bells, 'Alpinisms' (Ghostly International)

7
Alpinisms
Critical Mass
Label: Ghostly International

by Matthew Perpetua

Alpinisms' sweeping, ethereal pop owes a stylistic debt to My Bloody Valentine and the Cocteau Twins, but the debut album by former Secret Machines guitarist Ben Curtis' new project reveals a range of influences and a sophisticated approach to arrangement that sets the trio well apart from less imaginative latter-day shoegazers. Notably, identical-twin vocalists Claudia and Alejandra Deheza borrow liberally from the folk tradition, coating Appalachian melodies with chilly electronic textures on "Iamundernodisguise," and lend pristine '60s-style harmonies to "Connjur," a songthat simultaneously evokes Neu!, U2, and Kate Bush.

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