In the mid-00s, guitarist and songwriter Benjamin Curtis enjoyed moderate success as one-fourth of Secret Machines. That New York act specialized in hefty, high-power space rock that never met an effects pedal it didnt like. When Curtis split in 2007 to focus on his new project, School of Seven Bells, he kept the love of atmospherics and textures, but instead aimed for something more ethereal. That came courtesy of identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, whose model-like features were matched in beauty only by their airy voices. Together, the three spun a fresh take on Cocteau Twins-esque dream pop, updated with electronics and a full of signature vocal harmonies that loop trippily back in on themselves. School of Seven Bells popularity eclipsed that of the Secret Machines long ago, but the bands recent history has been fraught. When they played Grand Central last year, they showed up without Claudia, which left the musical arrangements sounding, frankly, incomplete. Apparently, Claudia had unexpectedly quit the band just four days before, but sister Alejandra has soldiered on with Curtis. Old fan favorites such as I L U have now been reworked but have lost none of their bewitching quality. This Thursday, School of Seven Bells will play Bardot, a venue whose intimate quarters are particularly suited for this new two-member setup.
Thu., Oct. 20, 9 p.m., 2011
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