School of Seven Bells "Silent Grips"

School of Seven Bells 'Silent Grips'
Secret Machines and their pounding drums, expansive passages and prog leanings were on the breath of many five, four and two years ago – the latter of which was largely on the back of their underplayed yet brilliant "Lightning Blue Eyes” single. Well, I’m sure GAP weren’t underplaying it considering it came on every time I entered the store back in 2006. (Oops! TMI!)

When Benjamin Curtis left the band last year to pursue his other band full-time, it came as quite a surprise, considering his brother Brandon remains in Secret Machines with Josh Garza. School of the Seven Bells is Curtis’s project with On! Air! Library!’s Alexandra and Claudia Deheza, as well as James Elliot (Ateleia). Meeting the Dehezas on tour with Interpol, Curtis quickly found a connection to fulfil an outlet that Secret Machines only hinted at every so often: shoegazing.

Releasing a single on UK-based label/club night Sonic Cathedral ("The Label That Celebrates Itself”) as well as a 12-inch EP on Table of Elements and an interesting collaboration with Prefuse 73 last year, School of the Seven Bells (which is the name of an infamous South American pickpocket academy, don’tcha know) are edging ever so closely to that full-length album.

But first they have this one-off seven-inch single with Suicide Squeeze, as part of a series that also includes Coathangers, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Pedro the Lion front-man David Bazan. "Silent Grips” may hover around the dream pop/shoegazer prescription, but not without shaking things up. The amorphous beat ricochets like Slowdive’s "In Mind” with more sense of style, giving the choral singing of the Deheza sisters something to play with. Meanwhile, Curtis sculpts a wall of sound through the obligatory effects board that runs rampant with the delay and warm reverb. Basically, it sounds almost exactly like Seefeel performing in church – which is just fine with me.

Buy the seven-inch of "Silent Grips” here.