Song of the Day: School of Seven Bells – Open Your Eyes

photo by Kyle Johnson

photo by Kyle Johnson

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Open Your Eyes”, from synth-pop sirens School of Seven Bells, from their 2016 record, SVIIB, out now on Vagrant Records.

School of Seven Bells – Open Your Eyes (MP3)

School of Seven Bells’ latest and last record, SVIIB, is a textbook definition labor of love. Alejandra Deheza and Benjamin Curtis began writing the record in the summer of 2012, but by the next summer, Curtis was undergoing intense treatment for leukemia. After his passing at the end of the year, Deheza worked to finish the record that they had begun – a loving offering made solely for each other, wrought with selfless love and abounding empathy in times of suffering. It’s a record that has the power to heal, and is easily one of the most overpowering things you’ll listen to this year.

“Open Your Eyes” finds itself among the most inspirational of SVIIB’s chapters. The production bounces between lighter-than-air R&B and a powerful, soaring chorus that puts Alejandra’s vocals on a dazzling pedestal. Deheza sings words of encouragement to a soul bent on turning inwards, ignoring the love and grace offered without respite. The object of her focus could be lover or a friend – or it could even be herself. Anger that leads to silent mourning over circumstances you can’t control – it’s all territory treaded heavily on SVIIB. But “Open Your Eyes” shows us that this way of thinking only leads to bitterness, and that there is love to be had and to be given outside of this closed door. SVIIB is a nine track love letter from School of Seven Bells, and “Open Your Eyes” is the line you’ll want to go back and read a thousand times more.

Alejandra and Benjamin performed for KEXP back in 2011, prior to their working on this final album. Here they are performing “Windstorm” during that session:

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