School of Seven Bells dream louder at the Echo



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School of Seven Bells‘ performance on Wednesday night at the jam-packed Echo wasn’t so much a show as it was a seance. The band – guitarist Benjamin Curtis and twin sirens Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, newly expanded to a quartet with the addition of a live drummer – conjured up the ghosts of the Cocteau Twins, Lush and Slowdive during an hourlong set that actually got dreamier if you closed your eyes.

Not that many did, especially the rather smitten male members of the audience, not with the Dehezas at opposite sides  of the stage. Trouble is, the twins barely cracked a smile during the show – über-cool and politely detached, they let their filmy vocals dictate the mood, which on this night was more optimistic than SVIIB’s wall-of-sound approach would suggest. On both the material from the band’s debut “Alpinisms” and its new “Disconnect From Desire,” the drums added spine to a previously viscous live show; the rhythms provided a sturdy bottom to music already richly layered.

Owing to variable sound quality at different spots in the room and to the cramped quarters, it was sometimes hard to discern those layers. SVIIB’s brand of dream-pop is more meditative than cathartic, but if you tested your attention span and gave in to the grooves, School of Seven Bells were as much ear sugar as eye candy.

Photos by Laurie Scavo