sleighbellstreats

The hype around the Sleigh Bells album Treats has been breathless and immediate. So breathless in fact that tickets to see the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Florida duo at the out-of-the-way Brooklyn watering hole Coco66 were sold out. Now, upon first listen to the album (co-released by M.I.A.’s new N.E.E.T. Recordings imprint), and resulting Twitter mayhem after its NPR streaming debut, all the hype is beginning to make sense.

This is a band that’s very of the moment: flashy, in your face, with seriously thin, but catchy sing-song lyrics that register more as sound bites than real lyric writing. Treats is an album that’s easily emblematic (perhaps even too much so). The noise of the Internet, BP’s oil tank explosion, and sweaty kids in white American Apparel tank tops making a conscious decision to reject their Ritalin—it could all be read here, wrapped together into one aggressively distorted, overdriven, and exhilarating electro-mess.

Album opener “Tell ‘Em” begins with something that sounds vaguely like the national anthem and then is met with pulverizing drums that sound like missiles. Enter Alexis Krauss’s sugary sweet, schoolyard vocals, drowned in fog—perhaps to drown out the inanity of the lyrics? The equivalent of Magnolia Bakery’s cupcake frosting, Krauss’s vocals are a little like crack—can’t get enough at first, but easy to experience quick burn out.

Next comes the rhythmic, hypnotic “Kids.” There are the sound bites again—“Sip my Kool-Aid, I’m feeling better now”— this time some warped samples, and the trademark distortion. The ridiculously catchy “Riot Rhythm,” which features a whiny guitar and cheerleader-esque vocals, could easily become the song of the summer—the perfect accompaniment to an ice-cream headache. “Infinity Guitars” is one of those songs that keeps getting better upon listen—and in the end, it might be the duo’s best. The stand-out pop song on the album (which would be right at home on an episode of the British TV show Skins), “Rill Rill,” also features some of Sleigh Bells’ most idiotic lyrics: “Just keeping straight face/Wonder what your boyfriend thinks about your bassist.”

With Treats, Sleigh Bells gives us a little Le Tigre, a little M.I.A., and believe it or not, even some of the late trashiness of Royal Trux, particularly in Krauss’s stage presence. While it is hard to say if many will be listening to this album in five years or even next summer, for right now, it is a lot of fun. Loud, sweaty, brainlessly angsty, this is music that makes you want to get wasted on something sweet, blow off some steam and wreak total havoc on the world. (N.E.E.T. Recordings/Mom + Pop Records)  –Jennifer Bassett

 
  1. I’m not 100% sure, but I am fairly certain that the lyrics to “Rill Rill” that you reference are “Keep thinking ’bout every straight face yes / Wonder what your boyfriend thinks about your braces,” which in the context of the song (and its other lyrics), are not quite that idiotic.

    [Reply]

    brydie Reply:

    @Megan,
    Megan, I’m 100% sure it’s braces not bassist!

    [Reply]

  2. I think you’re right, Megan.

    [Reply]

  3. It’s definitely braces, not bassist? Because it continues to say, “What about them? I’m all about them.”

    [Reply]

  4. definitely “braces.” this review is kind of idiotic.

    [Reply]

  5. I originally thought it was bassist as well, but it didn’t fit in context of the song. It’s a good thing the lyrics are online to follow along. Shouldn’t a reviewer know 100% of what they are covering before they put it online?

    [Reply]

  6. [...] a headlining tour starting July 1 in Baltimore in support of their recently released debut effort, Treats (out now on N.E.E.T. Recordings/Mom + Pop Records). The jaunt will culminate in a highly anticpated [...]

  7. Yeah, it’s ‘braces’.

    Which kind of makes this review look more idiotic than the lyrics, but whatever.

    [Reply]

  8. Seriously? Its funny that you guys are even debating this…its braces…

    [Reply]

  9. Love Sleigh Bells, Love M.I.A. You wouldn’t happen to have the lyrics for the track ‘Kids’ would you? I can’t find them anywhere..

    [Reply]

  10. This review is idiotic.

    [Reply]