Artist: Sleigh BellsAlbum:
TreatsLabel: Mom + Pop, N.E.E.T. Release date: May 11 on iTunes, June 22 in CD formRating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): BuyDownload:
Stream the entire thing on NPR until next weekThis year I fell hard for two highly experimental boy-and-girl duos from New York – Phantogram and Sleigh Bells. Both acts have been actively hyped, but where Phantogram is sexy and polished, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells are like their bombastic, racket-making cousins. And God, is this record ear-splitting. “Tell ‘Em,” the first track, opens with a synth and drum beat that sounds more like cannons shooting off in a battlefield before launching into Miller’s searing, squalling electric guitar riffing – so distorted it sounds like his amps are blown out – and Krauss’ cascade of silvery vocals. As a vocalist, Krauss is in a unique position – her voice is so light that at times it sounds sylphic, even disembodied; it’s a crazy-interesting and directly contrasting effect on pummeling, explosive songs like “Infinity Guitars” and “A/B Machines.” Krauss is a tough girl at heart though – that much is betrayed when she lets loose banshee-like screams (“Crown on the Ground”) or when she sings bullying lyrics like, “You take a heart/ I can take that too/ You take a heart/ I can take out you” (“Run the Heart”). The songs on Treats forcefully blend hardcore sound barriers, a breezy pop spirit, and a bit of hip hop swagger. It’s a gleefully aggressive record – it literally leaves you exhausted in its wake, and it’s the most exciting thing I’ve heard this year.