Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror
Record Label: Mom+Pop
Release Date: February 21st, 2012
This album is simultaneously punk, industrial, shoe-gaze and most certainly electronic. Sleigh Bells are as confusing as they are loud; they shred guitar, they are perhaps heavier than any mainstream metal band playing today and they promise to make you bleed if you frequent them live. But the music somehow strikes that aloof chord between frantic and relaxing. This band is paradoxical to say the least. Female lead singer Alexis Krauss is still the pretty lady screaming down your headphones on this second album Reign of Terror, but she now sounds a hell of a lot more knowledgeable. Perhaps losing your voice through excessive gigging has its benefits, or simply being able to afford new recording equipment after smashing up your old gear goes a long way.
Opening track “True Shred Guitar” gives a live opening feeling to the heart pulsing goodness to come. Derek Miller, the mastermind behind the band, is still layering his preferred electric guitars over anything that gets in his way. “With [debut album] Treats it was less clear to me whether Sleigh Bells was going to be a guitar band or if we were going to do more sample-heavy stuff”. Well it certainly is clear now; the guitar certainly won. Songs like “You Lost Me” and “Demons” show case how lead singer Krauss is simply employed as just another layer of noise to play around with between the ambience and guitar chugging in the studio. First single “Comeback Kid” is one of the most accessible songs the band has ever recorded; although it still moves at breakneck speed and the lyrics are still mostly indistinguishable, but Krauss sure does sound cute when she fires those syllables out at us.
Coincidentally, my housemate started blow-drying her hair while I was beginning to review this album, and I had a realisation that the sound pretty much fit in with the vibe of the work; tonal noise is always good noise for Sleigh Bells. Essentially this second album sounds like a cheerleading brigade at a motorcycle revving convention. It is not wholly unique though, but it is done extremely well on almost every single track. If you want to get Sleigh Bells in a nutshell; think something along the lines of the introduction to Sesame Street meets The Prodigy in a dark club... and Elmo is wearing every leather item that he could possibly wear simultaneously.
I think everything about this band is awesome except the most important part, Alexis Krauss vocals are terrible!! She ruins this good thing! Her voice is all wrong for this project. Derek Miller is the brains and needs to get rid of her, because they are going nowhere with her period!