In tangent with the upcoming sugar-filled holiday, Sleigh Bells’ aptly named Treats is just that, 11 tracks of ferociously loud synth-rock that is far more of the latter in the “ trick or treat” equation. The debut album from the Brooklyn newcomers has been a bloggers dream, a completed piece that actually lives up to the hype of pre-release demos and live samples from a previously unheard of duo with a quirky back-story. (See Wikipedia: “ The duo met and formed in 2008, when [guitarist/producer Derek] Miller was waiting tables on [vocalist] Alexis [Krauss] and her mother at a neighborhood Brazilian restaurant called Miss Favela. Miller mentioned he was looking for a female vocalist to work with on a musical project, for which Alexis’ mother immediately volunteered her.” )
It isn’ t until the latter half of the album that Sleigh Bells busts out their standout tracks, a nearly 1-2-3 punch of “ Rill Rill,” “ Crown On The Ground” and “ A/B Machines.” Drastically different from the tracks to follow, “ Rill Rill” is a delicate, pop number showcasing Krauss’ vocals rather than a hook-laden beat. As the album’ s longest track, it is almost begs for a separation, as though Sleigh Bells could have released an entirely different album had they centered it around the quieter track and not the barrage of noise pop. That being said, what follows in “ Crown On The Ground” is a turn-up- your-speakers-and-break-your-car-windows assault on the eardrums of the best kind. Arguably the most hyped track, the song finds Krauss demanding “ set, set that crown on the ground” over a chorus of appropriately pushy “ ah, ah-ah” ’ s. Finally, we reach “ A/B Machines,” an addictive number of layered beats and screams that feels more complex than its two-line lyric sheet would suggest. For a “ lyric girl,” it’ s always nice to let the words (or lack thereof) slide and get lost in a good beat.
In spite of all the praise, Treats is painful at times, a record so drenched in noise that it is virtually impossible to listen to at a quiet volume. But then again, this isn’ t an album for casually enjoyment, but rather one for experiencing, and when it works, it works. Hell, if “ A/B Machines” can’ t power you through a tough workout, I am straight out of suggestions. In the right environment, Treats truly is the perfect indulgence.
- Sleigh Bells, based in Brooklyn, is Derek E. Miller and Alexis Krauss.
- Their debut album, Treats, is available on iTunes for $9.99.
- Sleigh Bells will play Metro on Wednesday, October 27. Tickets are $12.
“Infinity Guitars” official music video