The work of former Secret Machines guitarist Benjamin Curtis and twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza of On! Air! Library!,
School of Seven Bells are a less-clunky Bat for Lashes, with each song a cocktail of ambient, synth-heavy noise, delicate and ethereal in their layered vocals.
Named after a clandestine South American pickpocketing academy that may or may not have existed, SOSB are equally as mysterious in sound. ‘Half Asleep’ is trippy, spaced-out magic, School
while ‘White Elephant Coat’ is shoegaze for the modern age, complete with minimalist beats and monotone vocals.
‘Sempiternal/Amaranth’ is then an electro-monster of keyboard beeps and distorted, psych vocals.
Epic pop songs for those lamenting the disappearance of the Cocteau Twins.
There’s no going backwards with London duo Gentle Friendly.
Verse/chorus/verse is not for them. Instead, amongst the mass of tangled wires that snake around the Luminaire stage into endless effect pedals, iPods and unidentified boxes, the pair sit,
building sounds to rapid completion before quickly moving on to the umpteenth section of any one composition.
David – red-headed, Etonianlooking singer/keyboard-basher – kneels side on to the audience, sometimes gently humming into two microphones,
often retching into them, as his instrument rests on an old suitcase.
In front of him is drummer Daniel, surrounded by a sparse five-piece kit that seems to have been very bad indeed,
with an electronic organ within reach for him to stretch his fingers on throughout the evening.
Bar the occasional – if essential – turn-offthe-wheezing-zombie-in-theamplifier-noise-now nod, it’s tough to tell why David and Daniel face each other. Bells
Completely in their own worlds – Daniel’s a universe of ferocious Health-styled drum assaults, David’s a place where eyes are tightly clenched to face grimaces and loud yelps – the pair
play independently of each other, and yet completely as one, like a couple of Jedis with a penchant for creating loopy, multi-layered blasts of noise core. We are believers.
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