The band began as a trio. Benjamin Curtis met Alejandra and Claudia Deheza when his Secret Machines
shared a bill with the twin sisters' On!Air!Library!
as openers for Interpol
. The three musicians left their respective acts and debuted in 2007 on Sonic Cathedral
with the 7" recording My Cabal, which featured a B-side remix from Robin Guthrie
-- the guitarist/producer's Cocteau Twins
being another apparent touchstone. Additional singles, as well as a short-form collaboration with Prefuse 73
, preceded the debut album Alpinisms, released on Ghostly International
in October 2008. The relatively muscular and direct Disconnect from Desire followed in July 2010 through Ghostly
and debuted at number nine on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart. Claudia Deheza left the group during a subsequent tour, and her sister and Curtis, who had been a couple, broke up later the same year. School of Seven Bells continued, however, without suffering any loss of creative power. Ghostory was issued in February 2012 and peaked on Top Electronic Albums at the same position as the album that preceded it. Put Your Sad Down, a download-only EP featuring a 13-minute title track and a cover of Silver Apples
' "Lovefingers," was made available during the band's gigs that year.
Early in 2013, Curtis announced that he was diagnosed with lymphoma. That August, a benefit concert took place in New York with performances from the Strokes
' Albert Hammond, Jr.
's Paul Banks
, and members of Radiohead
were among those who donated items to a concurrent silent auction. Curtis died that December. A few months later, Alejandra Deheza released a School of Seven Bells cover of Joey Ramone
's "I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up)" that was recorded while Curtis was in the hospital; Ramone
himself died of lymphoma just over a decade earlier. A fourth School of Seven Bells album, nearly finished at the time of Curtis' diagnosis, was later completed by Deheza with help from producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen. It was issued in February 2016 as SVIIB. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi