Since their debut release two years ago, School of Seven Bells has racked up a lot of comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and the Cocteau Twins, but there’s nothing special about that: Pretty much anyone who has ever combined echoing guitar with dreamy female vocals has those shadows hanging over their head. What’s unusual is that School of Seven Bells also gets — and really deserves — comparison to lesser-known U.K. acts of the late ’80s and early ’90s such as Ride, Lush, the Pale Saints, Kitchens of Distinction, and Seefeel.
But don’t let those old band names scare you off. Even if you’re not a shoegazer from way back, you’ll find plenty to like about School of Seven Bells’ new album, Disconnect from Desire. The trio — twin sisters Claudia and Alejandra Deheza (formerly of On!Air!Library!) and Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) — employ swirling guitars and swooning vocals, but they use them in the service of concise songwriting and a relatively up-front production style. Seldom has dream pop sounded quite so pop.
One reason for this may be that School of Seven Bells claims to center their songwriting on their lyrics. Even the best shoegaze bands of the past tended to treat lyrics as an afterthought. Still, School of Seven Bells’ lyrics are within a tradition that values the vague and the surrealistic. In “I L U,” the Deheza twins coo, “There are so many things/ I wish I knew how to say/ In a way that you’d understand/ But I can’t.” The Cocteau Twins couldn’t have said it better.
SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS, The Loft, UCSD, October 3, 8 p.m. 858-534-8497. $12; $14 door.