Monday, 20 February 2012

Review: Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror

 Just how do you describe the kind of music Sleigh Bells make? You could call it "industrial pop", you could call it "digital hardcore", at times maybe "acid pop" would be a good term, but I think it would be most credible and respectable for me to say "if the phrase 'super-hyper-fun-awesome' had a sound" because, if it did then it would be the colourful assault of dynamic synth infused power pop mixed with industrial and hardcore rock and metal influence that the Brooklyn duo deliver. The ideals of former Poison the Well guitarist Derek Miller and former teen pop star Alexis Krauss for making music have not changed much since 2010's Treats but with their second release Reign of Terror this songwriting power is still strong and the spirit of awesome still resides in their deranged musical craftsmanship.

 What rides high on this album is just an overwhelming and overpowering sense of ecstasy found in almost every aspect of the music. Whether it's Miller's sonic and frenzied post hardcore riffs which can even get a little thrashy, seen on the likes of Born to Lose and Demons, or the trippy and shimmering array of synthesized backdrops which in their immense dynamism and effective layering techniques makes these electronic moments the standout sections themselves, seen best in Comeback Kid and Leader of the Pack or the warm and inviting vocals of Krauss which at times have the extra sense of cuteness that makes one's head want to explode, seen in her unleashing of more punk based yelling in Crush or more seductive crooning seen in Road to Hell and You Lost Me. There can certainly be no denial that this is an album bursting with positivity.
 The arrangement of the songs in their production and songwriting is breathtaking. Miller and Krauss manage to take the normally sinister and brooding structures of the pounding industrial metal and post-hardcore reminiscent to Nine Inch Nails or Big Black and give it a schizophrenic and deluded gloss-over with shiny poppy synthesizers filled with their own awesome intricacies and listening back to them always allows for something new to be discovered. The layering of all these synthesized magnificence and sonic riffs allows for genuinely noisy and heavy playback with genuine aggression in the mot positive way possible.
 So, Reign of Terror is probably the most awesome I've heard pop music being altered sound. The sparky cutesy melodic pop music mixed with an influence of more industrial elements gives the music a sound that is genuinely fresh, dynamic, powerful and is simply bursting with upbeat energy and ecstasy.

 Sleigh Bells' Reign of Terror is out now via Mom+Pop. The band will tour the UK in March with Charli XCX

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