Sleigh Bells – Treats (N.E.E.T.) 11/05/2010

May 13, 2010 by  

Boy meets girl in Brooklyn. Boy plays instrument, girl is kind of cute and has a voice. They start playing loud music together. It’s the recipe for success in the modern indie world. Sleigh Bells are definitely something fresh. Their hype has been gaining momentum during the last months, after playing SXSW and Coachella, and is now topped off with the release of their debut album Treats on M.I.A.’s NEET label and Mom + Pop records.

The group consists of guitarist and producer Derek Miller and singer Alexis Krauss. He used to play in a hardcore band and she used to play in a teen pop band, so when they joined forces I guess it was natural to start a band fusing those two genres.

‘Tell ‘Em’, the ferocious first track of the album, is a good portrayal of their sound. Alexis’ super sweet pop vocals over a hard hitting guitar riff all held together by a drum machine and some hand claps. It sounds like an awkward mix, but it turns out to be the catchiest thing I’ve heard in a long time. There’s also this dirty grime/hip hop aspect to their sound, especially on the M.I.A. inspired ‘Kids’, which make their songs perfect for the 3AM dance floor.

They continue their hit parade on songs like ‘A/B Machines’ and ‘Crown On The Ground’. These are songs that’ll get stuck in your head for weeks, they are the kind of songs that you swear you’ve heard before, and you can actually sing along with the chorus even though you’ve never heard them before. They’re what music blogs call bangers. This is not all they do though, they wander off in different directions on some of the songs, like on ‘Rachel’, which is the closest the album gets to a more quiet song. It’s dominated by a solemn synth beat and Alexis’ sweet high pitched voice. ‘Run The Heart’ also falls into this category, even though it is a bit more upbeat. They’re good songs, and they give you a bit of a break in between the sludgy guitar riffs and loud drums. It also shows that the band has a lot of potential, and I’d love to see them experiment more with the electronic part of their sound.

With such different musical backgrounds, it’s impressive that they’ve managed to balance their sound so elegantly between the two of them, but on some songs you hear one of their influences clearer than the other. ‘On Straight A’s’, Derek shreds his guitar to a fast drum beat while Alexis chants some indecipherable words, while on ‘Rill Rill’ it’s completely the other way around. Alexis sounds like Destiny’s Child singing the chorus to this summery sing along pop song while Derek strums on an acoustic guitar.

This is music your mom won’t understand when she’s sitting in the other room listening to the noise from your room, but if she went in there and actually listened, she would be dancing in a matter of seconds. And yeah, maybe they’re a bit overhyped, but they’ve released a solid album and show a lot of potential. This mixed bag of heavy rock, electro, pop and grime will leave you wondering if you should head bang or shake your ass.