Words by Russell Carstens
It wouldn’t be too far off to think of Sleigh Bells as Cocteau Twins’ evil twin. Yes, both bands have female vocals, programmed electronic drums, and phantasmagorical vibes, but that’s as far as the similarities go on Sleigh Bells’ new album, Jessica Rabbit. Or maybe they’re the Death Grips of noise pop, as moods shift from scattershot, dirty south hip-hop to mega-poppy pep rally enthusiasm in the span of one song, suitable for pre-game athlete introductions at rowdy college arenas.
Trying to fit equal parts of pop, noise, industrial, hip-hop, electronic, and metal into one bag does result in some aural spillover much of the time. However, Sleigh Bells pride themselves on making an unholy racket. Is there a secret band member who uses a broken modem from hell as an instrument of texture?
Whatever way their signature clatter is created, the duo’s shape-shifting approach to crafting songs is gutsy. Alexis Krauss sings with the resolve of someone who has the courage to move forward, even after devastating defeat. Guitarist Derek Miller channels Dimebag Darrell’s tone and style of riffing, but he does so as if Dime were a member of Pretty Hate Machine-era Nine Inch Nails. The duo is at its best when they go mega-poppy, with big hooks. Yet even in these moments, the abrasiveness keeps things in check. Jessica Rabbit is red-blooded and daring.
© November 11th, 2016
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