Under Review: Sleigh Bells – Treats

If you thought I’d shy away from reviewing a band as trendy as Sleigh Bells, well I guess you’re mistaken.  If you think I’m reviewing Treats because it’s a trendy record, you’re also mistaken, as it really is a lot of fun to listen to.  The duo, made up of vocalist Alexis Krauss and producer Derek E. Miller, started creating a buzz with their self-released demos, which were spread on the internet over the past year or so.  One of the many people whose attention was caught by the group’s massive beats and brash production value was M.I.A., who, in exchange for some work on her own forthcoming record, let the band create Treats on their own (the album is released on Maya’s own label, N.E.E.T.).  Treats still sounds rough and ragged like a demo recording, but it mines a number of different genres for a deafening summer soundtrack.  Opening blast “Tell ‘Em” sets the album’s (and the band’s) main theme in its opening seconds.  A thunderous drum, a searing electric guitar and Krauss’ aloof vocals all build toward a sound that is instantly signature.  Sleigh Bells are noisier than your average dance outfit, and they’re dancier than your average noise group.  Though a dozen more tracks like “Tell ‘Em” might exhaust more than excite, Sleigh Bells tweak their model with each song to keep the album interesting.  “Riot Rhythm” is quite club-friendly while “Rill Rill” shows off the band’s more pop sensibilities.  Sleigh Bells best tricks are also their own worst enemies.  This is a band whose sound is extremely polarizing, and they know it.  Even seeing these guys opening for Yeasayer last month, I wasn’t sure if I loved them or hated them.  I did know that I wanted to hear more, and I’m glad that Treats, as grating as it can be at times, is a compact snapshot of the band.  This might not be the kind of thing that needs a follow-up album, but Sleigh Bells definitely deserve at least one listen (if you can take it, that is).

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~ by E. on June 11, 2010.

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