Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror
I was never one to deeply analyze Sleigh Bells. They built themselves to be irresistible for the indie scene, and they were. Their debut release “Treats” came out of nowhere and took the indie pop scene by storm in 2009. It’s murderous loudness and juicy pop hooks created polarizing opinions, most in favor of the band. One might construct a deeper meaning in the intentions of this group, but some things are best left enjoyed on face value.
In case you didn’t know, Sleigh Bells is duo Alexis Krauss, former teen pop singer, and Derek Miller, former hardcore guitarist. On their sophomore LP, Reign of Terror, the duo is most notebly out for a new style and, believe it or not, an itch to sound louder than Treats. Sure enough, it was made possible. Just when you thought Sleigh Bells was loud enough to shatter your eardrums, they kick it up another notch.
This is where the pros and cons of this album come from. It’s commendable to see Sleigh Bells go beyond their comfort zone, go for a different artistic and recording style and accomplish their goals in doing so. Specifically, Reign of Terror’s hi-fi recording and arena-sized guitar-based songs are what make this LP feel so fresh. But in all these new changes, what was the opportunity cost? Simple. Where Sleigh Bells became louder, they became less interesting; far less interesting, less entertaining, less immediate, less poppy, less exciting. Listening to a track on Treats gives the same joy as striking a match does: the friction of two forces dying to get set ablaze into something powerful. With Reign of Terror, I feel like I’ve been given a bite stick made of pure metal and am forced to sit through 36 minutes of an album.
It’s a shame to see an exciting group do the right thing as artists but fall short in their results. Reign of Terror is not worth anyone’s time, but Sleigh Bells will be around. Here’s hoping for them to us with album No. 3.
This album was my drunk and racist grandmother. (4/10)
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