Sleigh Bells
Treats


4.0
excellent

Review

by Conrad Tao EMERITUS
May 11th, 2010 | 12 replies | 4,805 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sleigh Bells are the real deal.

It's natural for people to disregard hype. After all, who hasn't had the nasty experience of getting all excited about a band that eventually proves to be insipid and boring? But sometimes, just sometimes, the hype machine is right. Sometimes there are bands that deserve the praise, the coveted Pitchfork "Best New Music" tags, and the countless blog posts.

Sleigh Bells is one of those bands. Ever since their debut at CMJ, they've been everywhere - Coachella, SXSW, you name it. They quickly became the "it" band of 2010 without even releasing a piece of music. They signed with M.I.A.'s boutique label, N.E.E.T., and before you know it, the quirky boy-girl duo that met in a diner in Brooklyn were stars.

With hype comes backlash, and Sleigh Bells has been called by plenty of people a "flavor-of-the-month" band. There were probably plenty of hipster-runoff types who were hoping that Treats was going to be awful. But the haters will have to wait a little longer before they get their moment of triumph - on their debut LP, out now on iTunes and due for a physical release in June, Sleigh Bells craft a sound that is uniquely their own, and they confidently blast it out at ear-splitting levels. If you're going to blow out your speakers, this is the way to do it.

Derek E. Miller was formerly the guitarist for the post-hardcore band Poison the Well and singer Alexis Krauss was a member of the teen pop group Rubyblue, so it's not really a surprise that the sound that they have here is both an assault on the senses and a delectable piece of pop candy. The album opens with first single "Tell 'Em", which sounds like a pep rally infused with several cans of Red Bull. It makes a huge first impression and sets the scene. What follows is 32 minutes of giddy, exhilarating pop.

Half of the songs on Treats have been floating around in the blogosphere for a while now, but they have all been re-recorded and some have been notably reworked. "Infinity Guitars" starts out sounding identical to its demo counterpart before barreling into an immense coda that will make your head explode.

As for the new tracks, they are mostly in the vein of the previously released songs, and they don't disappoint. "Riot Rhythm" has a syncopated, aerodynamic guitar riff and an addicting playground-stomping beat. When Krauss's charmingly straightforward vocal comes in, it's practically begging for a singalong. "Run the Heart" takes what sounds like an outtake from the Glee soundtrack and mixes it with a hip-hop groove; it proves to be completely irresistible. The anxious breaths that opens "Rachel" evolves into a hypnotic synth line; the song doesn't really go anywhere, but in its brief two-minute time frame it doesn't really need to.

None of these songs stretch longer than 4 minutes, which is good, because although Treats is much more polished than those early Sleigh Bells demos, it is still defiantly noisy. The brevity keeps the fuzzy production from overpowering the songs, which are unpretentious and ridiculously catchy. I can't say with a straight face that Sleigh Bells are going to be huge - their sound is simply too abrasive to have the immediate appeal radioplay needs - but they prove here that they're the real deal, and they're not going away anytime soon.



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user ratings (486)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Marzuki (4)
Keep thinking about every straight face, yes, Wonder what your boyfriend thinks about your braces...

Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (5)
Perfection...

Max Paradise (4.5)
The best of the 'pretentious reinvention of pop' genre....

Kiran EMERITUS (4)
Go loud or go home....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Satellite
May 11th 2010



20690 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review. Been meaning to check this band out.

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels

conradtao
Emeritus
May 11th 2010



2088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks. I was debating between a 4.5 and a 4 - I think it'll end up being this year's xx. At least I hope it is.

Satellite
May 11th 2010



20690 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I wouldn't doubt it at all, at least hype-wise.

alachlahol
May 11th 2010



7477 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

re-listened to the EP these guys put out a while back. it didn't tickle my tummy if you know what i'm saying

conradtao
Emeritus
May 11th 2010



2088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

streaming here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126667481

timbo8
May 11th 2010



618 Comments


really interesting sound. "Rill Rill" and "Sleigh Bells" are awesome, but overall it's not really my cup o tea

Sejine
May 11th 2010



62 Comments


Listening on NPR and loving it so far.

I just want the actual CD now though. D:

conradtao
Emeritus
May 11th 2010



2088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

CD/vinyl release due for june 22...

..with different artwork, apparently, there'll be a "big orange hurricane" on the cover.

LiquidVelvet
May 13th 2010



629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty amazing. First time I listened, I was like 'kay, this is awesome,' and then that railgun drum-hit and guitar explosion at the end of Infinity Guitars came in and I pretty much shat myself.

Kiran
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this was a really great review, keep it up

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

DinoX
December 24th 2010



3582 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So this album is pretty original and awesome

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2010



14991 Comments


cool album



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