School of Seven Bells are a band that I have loved for quite some time, and to have them play in my hometown was kind of amazing. Their electro-dream pop is just this: psychedelic music for the soul.
Tara Simmons got the night off to a right start with her single “Where Do You Go”. With her self named emergency band, she is sounding much more electrified than the last time I heard her play. I mean this not only in the nature of her songs and the nature of their composition, but also in her presence. She’s still that tiny folk-like singer, but there so much more to the sound she’s now creating, and I love it. “Be Gone” is still such an amazing song, and truly sums up her new sound. I do like the way the live show features not only a real drum kit, but also combines this with the electronic backing tracks as well as pad drums to create something immense. Although things weren’t perfect this evening, expect to hear a lot more from this young lady.
Little Scout had the pleasure of touring the HiFi venues across the East Coast with School of Seven Bells, which I think suited quite nicely. I do believe that this band has now really found their stride. After the success of their debut record, Take Your Light, released in August of last year, they were quiet for a time, but now they are back in force. After trying to unburden herself from under a guitar for most of the tracks from said record, front-woman Mel Tickle reclaimed the instrument for many of the new tracks. Her vocals are stunning in their simplicity and effortlessness. I love how in indie music, especially Australian indie music (I use the term loosely for this purpose), each vocalist brings their own voice to the table, unlike the commercial vocalists who seems to be carbon copies of the same type of voice.
The band's new song “Day” is quite a stunning track, and takes me back to the Little Scout I know and love from their EPs. Tonight, they also played an old favourite from the time of these EPs, “Dead Loss”. The band’s newest single “Go Quietly”, released only a couple of days previously, was certainly a highlight of the set. It is so different form anything else released, and brings something fresh to their sound.
Now, School of Seven Bells. This band is nothing short of fabulous. Their combination electro-dream pop sounds are something quite unique, and you can’t help but be enthralled. What I loved about this band is that they played songs from across their three album discography. They opened the hour and a half set with “Iamundernodisguise”, the opening track to their debut LP Alpinisms. The first thing you noticed about the band was the difference between recorded vocals and the live vocals. I firmly believe this is due to Claudia Deheza’s departure from the touring scene. Twin sister, and vocalist of the band, Alejandra, remains, with another touring singer singing harmonies.
But it not the same. The vocals harmonies of the band are so close and somewhat dissonant, that I can imagine it being a struggle to reproduce with a new vocalist. In saying this, this new vocalist did do a good job.
It is evident that the vocals, however, are secondary only to the music being created by brainchild, Benjamin Curtis. When I try to think of the stand out moments, I must say, I’m at a loss. Each song is unique, but melds very well together, so as to create a somewhat psychedelic mind trip. At times I found myself drifting into another headspace entirely; their music has that power. In saying that, “Windstorm” was sensational, as was “I L U”. Also, in the encore, the final song they played seemed to go on forever, yet never got repetitive or tedious.
The one thing about the gig that was disappointing was the lack of people in the room! I’ve never seen the HiFi as empty as it was tonight. There was so much space to move around in the lower mosh, and the levels were barely full. For an international act to play to a crowd of that size, it’s saddening. I, for one, can’t believe there weren’t more people in the room, this band are certainly something special.