|Sleigh Bells — Kid Kruschev (EP, Nov 10, 2017)|
Sleigh Bells — Kid Kruschev (EP, Nov 10, 2017) ”“★λ★”“ Like everyone else, Sleigh Bells are feeling the weight of the world in 2017. Their lean new mini~album has more thematic cohesion than their previous releases and also a surprising tenderness.
© 710 x 473 ★ Photo credit: Josh Brasted / WireImage ★
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Album release: Nov 10, 2017
Record Label: Torn Clean
01 Blue Trash Mattress Fire 4:03
02 Favorite Transgressions 2:28
03 Rainmaker 3:50
04 Panic Drills 3:09
05 Show Me the Door 3:04
06 Florida Thunderstorm 2:31
07 And Saints 2:50
℗ 2017 Torn CleanAbout Sleigh Bells
”“★λ★”“ Combining sugary hooks with a loud, rhythmic crunch, Sleigh Bells’ experimental pop is the project of songwriter/producer Derek Miller and vocalist Alexis Krauss. The musicians formed the group in New York in 2008, where Miller (a Florida native and onetime member of hardcore act Poison the Well) had relocated in the hopes of starting a new group. He found his ideal partner in Krauss, a former vocalist for the teenaged girl group Rubyblue, and the two began creating a batch of demos. The duo signed to M.I.A.’s boutique label N.E.E.T. and released its debut album, Treats, to critical acclaim in 2010. The band spent much of 2011 touring but found time to record, with Miller writing songs inspired by personal tragedy and playing a particularly metallic~sounding Jackson USA Soloist. The results, Reign of Terror, were released early in 2012 and peaked at number 12 on the Billboard 200. ”“★λ★”“ During another year of heavy touring, the duo found time to lay down tracks for its third record, Bitter Rivals, which arrived in October 2013. After two years of relative quiet, Sleigh Bells returned in 2015 with “Champions of Unrestricted Beauty,” a teaser for their fourth album that displayed a more straightforward pop sound than some of their previous music. In 2016, the duo sued Demi Lovato, her producers, and UMG Recordings for allegedly sampling the Treats songs “Infinity Guitars” and “Riot Rhythm” without permission on the 2015 track “Stars.” That November saw the release of their fourth album, Jessica Rabbit, which featured collaborations with Dr. Dre producer Mike Elizondo. ~ Andrew LeaheyReview
By Frank Guan
★ Brevity has always been a priority for Sleigh Bells. The noise~pop duo of vocalist Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller debuted in 2010 with Treats, an album weighing in at 32 minutes; factor in subsequent albums Reign of Terror (2012), Bitter Rivals (2013), and last year’s Jessica Rabbit, and you’ll find that the average length of a Sleigh Bells album is only 35 minutes. Now comes Kid Kruschev, a collection which, with seven tracks amounting to no more than 22 minutes, would traditionally have been called an EP and which the band has dubbed a “mini~LP.” Whether it was out of suspicion that EPs don’t get reviewed or just a fit of sheer frivolous fancy — who knows. The key thing to take away is that they’re not much interested in wasting your time.
★ They’d do their thing and go, for better or worse; but what they actually do has shifted over time. Treats had the feel and force of plate glass breaking. The lyrics that Krauss sings told no story; they were willfully and intentionally simple in the style of march slogans or cheerleader chants. But the contrasts between her high delivery and the varied loud textures of Miller’s guitars and drum machines added up to something more substantial. Who needs a narrative when you have a sugar rush? Treats received stellar reviews and did brisk sales by indie standards; as the years passed, pop artists like Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift delivered the band a backhanded compliment by plundering Treats for their own songs.
★ As the sophomore album gave way to junior and senior, Krauss took the lead more and more. Her lines grew longer, attempted to convey more sense; Miller made room for the transition, smoothing out roughness and softening the crunch. Though there was the occasional relapse into riffage, it was clear that keyboards had become their primary instrument. The volume was still cranked up, but in the absence of tension, it tended toward monotony. Kid Kruschev continues this trend while registering a measure of dissent from it. Opener “Blue Trash Mattress Fire” boasts some of the heaviest guitar work from Miller in recent memory; successors “Favorite Transgressions” and “Rainmaker” maintain a similar, though fading, emphasis on electrically distorted fretwork that serves them well. The remaining four tracks are less remarkable: Permanently aloft in a limited range, Krauss’s voice tends to dissipate the nuance and emotion she intends to transmit. In the absence of grittier, more solid sounds to anchor it, listeners end up stranded in the high white mists.
★ The “mini~LP” ends up serving as a microcosm of the band’s career at large: a strong start dissolved into unfocused meditations. We never learn what the title, with its youthful communist pretension, really amounts to; though the lyrics are sharp on their own account, in a musical sense, their meanings are detached from their delivery. ★ Sleigh Bells originally distinguished itself from the indie landscape by its commitment to the roughage made possible by the electric guitar, and it’s not impossible to imagine a future for the band where the socialist politics (or whatever) are expressed through form instead of content. Sonic contrasts can suggest a dialectic; hard guitar chords can gesture toward materialism. Provided that the plate glass breaks ecstatically, listeners can figure out the rest for themselves.★ http://www.vulture.com/
by Sasha Geffen, NOVEMBER 9 2017 / SCORE: 6.4
|Sleigh Bells — Kid Kruschev (EP, Nov 10, 2017)|