Friday, March 02, 2012

Sleigh Bells Make Lana Del Rey Look Like Robert Fucking Johnson

So Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells have a new album out,Reign of Terror, which I just downloaded. They are schticky and work the same formula over and over, but dammit, it's a good forumla. Loud guitars, booming beats, and singer Alexis Krauss's cheerleader barks and girlish whispers.

The new album tones down the guitars a little bit, so that not every song is blowing out your speakers. In place of that, guitarist Derrick Miller channels Def Leppard, and Alexis gets to flex her R&B influence. It's slight but enjoyable, as a good pop album is.

What's funny about Sleigh Bells is how they've become indie rock darlings, despite the fact that they are basically a pop act. Lana Del Rey created a shit storm earlier this year by coming off as inauthentic, and yet Sleigh Bells, who have an equally fabricated persona, are welcomed with open arms. Granted, Sleigh Bells music is more interesting than Lana Del Rey, but that's not saying much.

Like Lana Del Rey, Sleigh Bells have been in the industry for years before reinventing themselves. Miller was in suburban angst hardcore band Poison the Well (their version of Smashing Pumkin's "Today" is almost as hilariously self-serious as Confide's version of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights,"), while Krauss was in wretched teen pop act RubyBlue. They recorded but never released a disc of generic and forgettable pop in 2001 before disbanding.

Their new album has come with its own aesthetic, which bleeds from the album cover to the clothes they wear onstage and in their videos. Its sort of an ultra-American high school bad ass vibe. All of which is fine, but its interesting that they get a pass while everyone dumps on poor old Lana. Maybe her marketing scheme was less subtle than Sleigh Bells. She can have the last laugh, though; she's selling more records.

Anyways, I like the new Sleigh Bells ok, and sort of hate myself for liking it. Speaking of rocking bands with tuff female singers, I was listening to the Distillers today. Coral Fang is a strong album. Too bad they broke up.

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