Released: May 11 2010
Genre: Noise Pop / Lo Fi
Sleigh Bells are the newest hype in the indie scene, and it’s quite clear why. This noise pop duo, through the release of their debut album, Treats, have already illustrated how music is very much still open to creativity — with boundless opportunities. Those that predicted that an emergence of lo-fi could well be the dominating genre of music in 2010 may have been on to something — for such an unfamiliar categorisation for the majority; the style of Sleigh Bells truly approaches music from a completely different angle in comparison to modern day pop music.
It’s no surprise that this girl/boy duo have released material on M.I.A.’s record label N.E.E.T. On first listen similarities are certainly identifiable. Sleigh Bells share a similar style in producing a hip-hop/electro crossover sound; some of the heavier beats in tracks such as Riot Rhythm undoubtedly reminiscent of M.I.A.’s work. What isn’t so familiar is the adoption of the lo-fi sound. This style, however, is powerful in creating a hard, grungy sound that Sleigh Bells will now be recognised by.
As well as hard hitting beats and distorted bass, the vocals of Alexis Krauss act as a harmonic juxtaposition against the violent instrumentals. Tracks such as Run The Heart combine heavy electro drums under melodic vocals and pop-esque synths, which perhaps make their sound a little easier on the ears.
Rachel opens with a very electro opening, with dreamy vocals overlaying synths that would seem more appropriate to the likes of funky house or fidget. Progressing into the next track, Rill Rill, Sleigh Bells opt to create a much softer, predominantly hip-hop, final product. These intervals of softer tracks in combination with much heavier experimental tracks such as Crown On The Ground work superbly at re-enforcing the sheer energy behind the music. The up-beat electronic and vocal elements seem at times comparable to the likes of the rather eclectic Alice Glass and Crystal Castles. Despite the generally electronic aura of Treats, guitars aren’t completely vacant. The opening of Straight A’s delivers a pounding sequence of distorted guitars that you’d expect to hear from a heavy rock group.
Sleigh Bells come to Brighton on May 15th, visiting London, Leeds, Glasgow and Oxford before ending their brief UK tour at Oxford on May 24th. For avid gig-goers that fancy something slightly different, perhaps experimental, with a guarantee of intensity on-stage; Sleigh Bells should be on the ‘must see’ list. Sleigh Bells also have tour dates lined up across Europe during the summer, before ending up at the Pitchfork Music Festival at Chicago, Illinois in July.
~ Article by James Murray
For Fans of: Washed Out, M.I.A., Wavves, Best Coast, Small Black