The School of Seven Bells are on a roll. Cool and mystical name? Check. Cute, identical twin sisters with an eerie musical connection? Check. Impeccably harmonized vocals and lusciously layered keys? Check.
The band, often abbreviated to the more manageable SVIIB, hit its stride on its sophomore release Escape From Desire. The group of Benajmin Curtis (Secret Machines) and The Deheza sisters (On! Air! Library!) jumped several steps forward musically from their amazing 2008 debut, Alpinisms, with an LP destined for many critics’ 2010 top-10 lists. The reasons for the band’s evolution are many, according to lead singer Alejandra Deheza.
“I really wanted to make something that sounded really good in a club, like when you walk in and hear a New Order song,” Deheza says.
SVIIB succeeded at making Deheza’s vision a reality, producing an album drawing on ’80s pop elements, but with a 2010 twist. The album’s reception has been the best and biggest the Deheza sisters have received in their short career, and Deheza is appropriately flattered. “I’m really happy about it,” she says, “I feel like this record is definitely more accessible.”
Their new label, Vagrant, appreciates the attention and is investing in promotion and pulling out all the stops—literally—like in the video shoot for their first single, “Windstorm,” which features Dehexa standing in the road.
“They didn’t close off the street. It was always a matter of avoiding cars and getting run over,” Deheza laughs, but concludes, “it was good.” The sisters are made for the camera, but is their beauty a distraction from their music? “As long as they’re hearing the record, it’s fine with me,” Deheza says.
Deheza bemoans her least favorite interview question, “What’s it like to be in a band with your sister?” But she notes that the sisters do share a unique relationship, something evidenced in vocal parts that blend perfectly.
“It’s weird because we’re very different, but we know each other so well … really well, so we fall into our roles very naturally and we know how to write with each other,” she says. Like the Osmonds?
Deheza laughs, “We’re just like the Osmonds.”
So, what’s in a name? Deheza explains that the school of seven bells was described on a PBS show the twins watched as a South American pickpocket academy (think Oliver Twist). She said she Googled the term but only three entries came up.
When made aware that the Googling of the name now pulls up a bunch of info about her band, she laughs and says, “That’s perfectly fine.” School of Seven Bells are always happy to take the old and make it their own, with a twist.
SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS
w/ Active Child
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Saturday, Sept. 25, 9 p.m.