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Treats is the debut album from Sleigh Bells, made up of Brooklyn duo Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller.
Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss, the him and the her behind new M.I.A.-feted Brooklyn sensation Sleigh Bells, hail from two pretty distant areas on the musical map. He learned his chops playing guitar in Miami metalcore ragers Poison the Well. She, meanwhile, got her break playing in a teen pop band called Rubyblue.
Curiously, though, you can hear the influence of both extremes in their debut album Treats. Much like Crystal Castles, this is a group that specialises in mixing up the sweet and the nasty. Electronic beats drop like cartoon anvils, guitars and synths are slathered in distortion, and the mix sometimes appears to have been plotted in order to introduce your ears to the concept of whiplash. But when Krauss isn't dispensing stern, M.I.A.-style raps, she's often to be found cooing in sweet baby-doll sing-song, and when all the bombast and distortion falls away, you realise that at their heart, Sleigh Bells have a knack for writing lovelorn fuzz-pop songs. "I wanna know what's good for you / You wanna know what's good for me," Krauss implores on Run The Heart.
A bewildering but fun bedlam seems to be their default setting, if the first half-dozen or so tracks are anything to go by. Riot Rhythm and Infinity Guitars rock out in a frenzy of angular riffs and chundering beats. This is fun enough, but could also get old over the full-length, so it's to their credit that this is the point that Sleigh Bells switch up their style. The peculiarly beautiful Rachel feels almost tailor-made to soundtrack a Sofia Coppola film, a blend of chopped-up synths and yearning vocals that recall those of My Bloody Valentine's Bilinda Butcher.
It's the following Rill Rill that might just be the duo's most endearing track, though. It's a sassy, country-tinged guitar song that finds Krauss singing about "wondering what your boyfriend thinks about your braces". It won't be Sleigh Bells' signature song, and rightly so–it's the sonic mayhem that'll get them noticed. But like Crystal Castles before them, it suggests they've got content beyond the chaos.--Louis Pattison
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Top Customer Reviews
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%.
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.
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.
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).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brought this for my 15 year old son and he loved it. Good seller to will defo use them again 5*Published on 15 Feb. 2014 by inky
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... Read morePublished on 24 Sept. 2013 by Andrew Boyd
Awesome, got into it straight away, flows brilliantly and great variance in song style. Only problem with getting into it straight away it effected the longevity of listening to... Read morePublished on 5 Jun. 2013 by Mr J Caron
The product I recieved was in fact a promotional CD, not the released one, that said not to be sold on the front of it. Such blatant fraud was certainly not expected... Read morePublished on 14 May 2013 by kessie hourahine
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... Read morePublished on 26 Nov. 2012 by Damien
This band is fantastic. I had heard a few people talking about them and decided to try the album. A decision I do not regret. Read morePublished on 7 May 2012 by George Leak
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... Read morePublished on 10 Jan. 2012 by ekb
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! Read morePublished on 18 Sept. 2011 by Pikers
Back in the space year 2004, I inherited an ancient drum machine which I duly ran through my guitar effects pedals, turned everything to 11 and basked in the throbs of white-noise,... Read morePublished on 26 May 2011 by C. Bransden