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4.2 out of 5 stars27
4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 21 June 2010
Sleigh Bells are a duo out of Brooklyn; this is their first album and doing quite nicely in the USA.
Derek E Miller's distort guitar combined with trusty laptop backings, through which weaves the sometimes ethereal, otherwise plaintive and occasionally hard rock voice of Alexis Krauss is a fine example of Noise Pop. With all the joyous frantic clamour of a playground handclapping game carried out by a horde of adults let loose from the strictures of their jobs or studies this album grabs your senses and will not let go; feet start tapping, hands joining in using knees as percussion and you tend to stop doing just what you were doing, drawing in by the persistent grinding rhythms, and that voice which should not be able to be making itself heard over the sound.
Now, be fair you might have a bit of difficulty separating one song from the next at times, but in this case it does not matter, just let yourself be carried along by the beat- Yep, we are dealing with music at its tribal basics here albeit fed through the wonders of 21st century technology and overlaid with repetitive but insistently simple captivating lyrics.
I understand that Noise Pop claims a lineage as far back as The Velvet Underground , I guess that's to do with the distort and the driving rhythms- that would explain why it's grabbing me. Though I wouldn't like to push the comparison any further. This is one great album for being caught up in the sound, never mind your major musical preferences....or generation-timeless y'see.
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on 28 June 2010
Bear with me, if you please. The first bar of music (noise?) that just came bursting hence forth from my speakers just gave my ears a shudder and my never-regions an all together uncomfortable experience. This, ladies and gentlemen is a feeling that I suspect is being replicated by all the scenesters and heroes of blogs-ville the world over. For this is the sound of Brooklyn's brand new idols, Sleigh Bells.

Consisting of multi-instrumentalist Derek E. Miller and vocalist Alexis Krauss, Sleigh Bells have been tearing up the online forums and music publications for the last few months after a string of single releases (most notably the distort ridden 'Crown On The Ground) and abrasive live shows. Easily filed alongside such other noise pop duo's Crystal Castles, it is easy to see the influences that have come about in creating this superb debut. A little bit of NY's finest, Suicide, the military craft of M.I.A and the pop sheen of 'Erotica' era Madonna. But I also detect the slight influence of 50's rock 'n' roll stars such as Chuck Berry, various 70's punk heroes (such as Dead Boys or The Voidoids) and any amount of 80's hair metal legends. Basically this album runs the gambit of the history of music, and yet it has a sound that could only have come about during the internet age.

Take track 2 'Kids' for example. It starts with the kind of guitar riff that would have felt at home on any Def Leppard release, then adds to the mix a hip hop style military drum loop, lets Krauss's angelic & innocent vocals give the song a solid base and then distorts the whole thing with weird fuzz (sorry, could'nt think of a better or more appropriate word). This is quickly followed by the sing-a-long 'Riot Rhythm' which instructs us to march along with the cheerleader-esque vocal arrangement, all the while creating the sort of insane havoc that Alan Vega & Martin Rev would be proud of.

Album highlights include 'Rill Rill' which features a rolling acoustic guitar riff which could have been lifted straight from a Super Furries track, while Krauss gives the sort of vocal performance that sounds like something you've been humming ever since child birth. The afore-mentioned 'Crown On The Ground' which is easily the equal of Crystal Castles 'Celestica' in terms of being equal-parts total insanity to naive child-like vocals. And my personal favourite track, 'A/B Machines' which has one of the most thumping drum loops these old ears have ever experinenced, a military-rhythm answer & call vocal and a 50's rock 'n' roll style guitar loop.

'Treats' will not appeal to everyone and at time it can feel all a little over-egged, but if you are in the mood for some sickly sweet style summer beats, then this is exactly what the doctor ordered. Plus, you'll look cool when everyone's talking about these in 6 months time.
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on 30 May 2010
I was first turned onto the duo from Brooklyn by a friend on twitter and have since fell in love with the interesting dynamic between the singers unique voice twisted in with guitar and electronica. Their music is hard to translate into words. The only way I've been able to describe them to people is a toned down version of Crystal Castles mixed with a very small bit of muse's guitar riffs.

This poor description shows how different Sleigh Bells are to the norm and deserve a listen. My favourite track is the opener "Tell 'Em" for its brash and unreservedly explosive introduction to the band.

Great album, worth the asking price 100%.
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on 11 August 2010
This record seems to be being touted as an underground classic in the making. This is slightly deceptive because, in fact, it is pure pop. It consists entirely of stomping beats, repetitive lyrics and enormous riffs. It has a whole string of potential singles that, if there were any justice in the world, would be number 1 hits.

Except. The production.

Now, normally, I feel production is something that should take a back seat but in this case it's impossible to ignore. All these recordings are brutally redlined. Do you remember cassette recorders? Do you remember the crude automatic level control that messed your recordings up and meant that whenever the drums cut in everything else cut out? Well, Sleigh Bells have used a bunch of expensive valve gear to achieve exactly the same effect. presumably. I dunno, maybe they did run it through the mic on an old portable. You could hold it up as a masterclass in how not to master a record. It shouldn't work at all.

This is either complete idiocy or a stroke of genius. I'm coming down on the side of genius. Somehow it all works. This is a great record.

PS My partner commented "if it weren't for the production it would be the Ting Tings". She's right. I don't think this is a bad thing on any count.
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This one is going to split the jury. Sleigh Bells are not a Christmas novelty act (some will disagree) but another band from the People's Independent Noise Republic of Brooklyn and an immense grungy dance punk juggernaut consisting of Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller a former hardcore rock guitarist. For influences think Bow Wow Wow, crossed with Lil Wayne and then throw in the Beastie Boys, White Stripes and Le Tigre.

As for the music Sleigh Bells elephantine beats don't just hammer the damn things could pile drive concrete supports into the foundations for skyscrapers. Their primitive guitar fuzz is wickedly distorted and married to the simplest of pop melodies. Krauss's ever so sweet voice provides tranquillity amongst this cacophony. Thereby this irresistible mix combines with room-shaking production and big guitars and is the reason why so many people are salivating over this album on the blogosphere.

When I first played the opener "Tell em" on my car stereo it was so bloody loud I swerved to miss a passing cyclist. It is a full blown aural assault, the musical equivalent of a punch in the face and one of the quieter songs on the album. It may just be 2010's musical counterpart to last years "My Girls" by Animal Collective. In terms of what follows there is no let up or escape. "Riot Rhythm" has drums which pound and Millers guitar introduces a razor like cutting riff. "Infinity guitars" sounds like a cross between the Beastie boys and Japandroids. "Run the heart" is Abba for the Twitter generation. It is a staccato composition punctuated by bubbling noises, shimmering synths and the dreamlike vocal of Krauss. Then there is the Phil Spectorish "Rill Rill" formerly "Ring Ring" from their demo's which is a charming confection of a pop song that is a temporary if welcome relief from Miller frankly going mental. His return however comes back with all the force of a wayward Katyusha missile on "Crown on the Ground" which sounds like the treble button has broken and someone has sucked the bass out. Your graphic equalizer is I am afraid onto a hiding to nothing but it works brilliantly and is actually quite sweet in comparison to the 90 second riff monster "Straight A's" that follows which could be Husker Du having a bad soundcheck. "A B Machines" is a surf guitar hip hop mash up (I kid you not) with Krauss repeating a two line lyric throughout. Finally the title track sounds like Mastadon making a bid for the charts with a girl singer.

There will be many of you wonderful people on Amazon who will state that "you don't get this", that "you've heard it all before" or will use that ubiquitous insult that it is the "king's new clothes". Even more will complain that the level of distortion on the album (at Spinal Tap "11") is giving your speakers a workload which they neither desire or can cope with and that perhaps "Treats" should come with complimentary Paracetamol. Yet there are on occasions when certain albums for just a very elusive moment on the space time continuum appear to make all other game players sound a bit wrought and tired. Sleigh Bells new album "Treats" falls into that category and will nudge popular music into different directions.

Granted "Treats" is so bound for mainstream success and overexposure that you sense that a brief romance with this band may be the extent of your involvement, but so what it will be fun while it lasts. Thus we have an album that is very loud, trashy, and disposable and pulled off with the sort of brazen audacity that would find the state police visiting in the dark of night in a less tolerant society. "Treats" describes itself, get it on Amazon MP3 download now and be prepared for a complete sensory overload.
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on 24 September 2013
This album took me a long time to get into it but keep with it it'll get there. It's a shame apple use one of their songs on their add I fear they are going to go down that hipster route with this band I think they have more talent than that
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on 26 November 2012
So pleased I bought this album. If I made one mistake, its that I bought their second album at the same time, and that one wa a little better than this one, which spoiled it a tiny bit. But, looking at it objectively, this album is still brilliant, full of cracking modern rock songs. Fantastic.
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on 18 September 2011
Great first album, sounding different to anything I've heard before. It's absolute chaos most of the time, and needs to be played loud! I've found that over time, I've started to skip some songs but others I could listen to all day; it's not flawless but definitely deserves a good listen to.
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on 25 May 2011
Having heard a couple of the tracks from this album on the radio (BBC 6 Music) I decided to take the plunge. I wasn't disappointed. The tracks I already knew were all present and correct, and the rest of the album was in a similar vein.

The music itself is not comparable to anything I am already familiar with, and the following description doesn't do it justice. Heavy over distorted guitars, synthy vocals, sparse electric drums.

Nothing I can say, hasn't already been said before. I think it's a great album, and look forward to seeing what they can do in the future.
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on 10 January 2012
Ah while Lady Gaga goes about her business pretending to be different but still singing the most generic pop songs on the market Sleigh Bells are actually doing something incredibally awesome; hit after hit that is as awesome as it is original. If you want really good music I suggest sleigh bells.
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