– THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER –

Signed to the techno label Ghostly International, Dream Pop purveyors, School of Seven Bells, seem unlikely candidates to be on such a label.

But look beyond the choral harmonies of sisters, Alenjdra and Claudia Deheza and you will find jangly guitars and spiky synthesizers which give their songs a pulsating rhythm and complement each other in a pear and blue cheese kind of way, meaning, it shouldn’t go together, but it does.

To continue the food metaphor just that little bit further, (sorry) despite pears and blue cheese being a pretty unique flavour, it is not entirely new; There is a definite sense that The School of Seven Bells are one in a long line of Dream Pop/ Shoe gaze bands, most notably the Cocteau Twins, with, Robin Guthrie from the Cocteau twins actually remixing a version of My Cabal.

As I enter the Ruby Lounge, the School of Seven Bells are playing Half Asleep and, unlike the last gig I went to in Manchester, the lack of students has not stopped there being a full house. To gain a better look I grab a stool and balance precariously on it.

I look round to see if anyone will congratulate me on being so resourceful but most of the crowd are totally engaged in the music, standing static, apart from the odd head nodder, the most loyal of which, being the men.

The haunting vocals of the two sisters complimented by their looks, conveys a dramatic image and they seem to play up to this, acting mournful to increase the effect of the music.

The spiky guitars/ dreamy vocals mix is alternated so that, sometimes, it is the lyrics which take on a dark tone, while the music behind it remains comparably light. This is what makes their music interesting; it is not one unified impression. Tones and rhythms are all jumbled up together.

The gig ends to rapturous applause and there are very vocal requests for ‘one more tune’ after the encore. The man in front of me reminds the band, as they trundle off, that, “I asked for two more” but it seems that for tonight, it is time to wake up.

After the gig we stand outside to wait for the rain to pass and overhear a man talking about the gig, he says he didn’t “get” the music and there was nothing to “get him going”.

Not only did he, make me, like them more, it made me think that there is little wrong with not understanding something. What is there to “get”? This is music, not a quadratic equation.

Making songs, without a recognisable form or shape can make them more interesting and a whole lot less predictable. It can also make a rainy Tuesday in Manchester a lot more bearable.

When people ask me what music I am in to, I find it very hard to give a definitive answer because, throughout my life I have been in to all kinds of different music from House to Heavy Metal depending on how old I was, what I was doing at the time and the kind of people I was hanging out with. So I can safely say I am open to most things as long as it’s good but obviously that is entirely subjective and open to interpretation, which I guess is what Silent Radio is all about. However, I would say that overall my alliances lie with Electronic Music because it covers so many genres and is constantly developing and changing. Having just returned from Sonar I felt a warm glow being surrounded by so many people who appreciate Electronic Music but there were times when I became a little jaded and questioned its integrity especially after seeing Katy B perform for the 3RD TIME! Will Katy B still be remembered in six years? I doubt it. But I guess that is the nature of Pop Music in particular; some stand the test of time, some don't. I think having grown up and lived in Manchester my musical tastes have been influenced by the club scene post- hacienda and the music at nights like Electric Chair which encompasses the sounds of House, Detroit Techno, Disco, Soul, Funk and Hip Hop. Basically anything with a groove, I like. But this is not confined to Dance Music I particularly like bands that are melodic and have a hook such as Wild Beasts, music that captures an emotion and has a heart. While at University I was also listening to music that didn’t really have much of a heart but more of a pacemaker in terms of the emotion it conveyed and that was Electro-Clash, a completely non- sensical and at times ridiculous genre that borrowed elements from House, Italio Disco and Techno and re- formed them in to one fun, but ridiculous package. While at University, I had my own radio Show where I tried to convey some of my musical tastes acquired from up north and had guest DJ's from a night in New Cross called Zombie Disco, with Jamie from Zombie Disco now working with Lindstrom. We also borrowed the services of Rina from Ladytron who had a guest DJ slot. Anyhow, I think it is safe to say I like a wide range of music apart from Katy B, sorry Katy.