99356Full Time Hobby – February 12th

Written and part-recorded prior to Ben Curtis’ death from lymphoma in 2013, SVIIB’s fourth album was completed by the Brooklyn duo’s remaining half, Alejandra Deheza, in the aftermath of that “tragic, soul-shaking tidal wave”. Given the band’s disposition for sweet tonal melancholy and intimate, pleading lyrics, this farewell outing could have been overwhelmingly mournful. Yet the trancey dream-pop retains its Cocteaus meets Ladytron grace, a synth-heavy haze enveloping songs reliant on the extent to which Deheza’s swooping melodies haunt your daydreams. SVIIB doesn’t always succeed, but harmonies crest and dip characteristically, especially over the chorus of ‘Music Takes Me’ and glistening ‘Ray Of Light’-like opener ‘Ablaze’ – a love letter to Deheza’s absent soulmate. These rapturous touches, and the singer’s soft, methodical delivery on ‘Confusion’, to a backing so sparse it’s like ambient vapour, form an affecting eulogy.

Buy: School of Seven Bells – SVIIB