My first exposure to School of Seven Bells was their opening performance for Blonde Redhead in 2008. They were awful. They not only sounded dynamically blah (my biggest pet peeve in live music), they looked completely miserable, which, when you’re opening for Blonde Redhead, is completely un-fucking-forgivable. The girls in the band are beautiful Brazilian indie princesses, which naturally added to my general irritation. My main responses at the time were eye rolling and snide comments.
Then I happened upon Alpinisms. I was introduced to the song “iamundernodisguise” by KEXP, and was hooked after the first chorus. The whole album embraces lushly weird melodic structures and a neo-shoegaze aesthetic. The first track (iamundernodisguise) sounds, as best as I can describe, like tribal shoegaze church music. There’s something soaring and religious about a lot of the melodies on this album, but it’s all done so tastefully – it totally defies the cheesiness this could cause if improperly deployed. Simply stated, this album is beautiful. Every track is easy to listen to, skillfully produced, and just really fucking pretty. Judge for yourself (try not to let Claudia and Alejandra’s gorgeousness distract you):