Often minimalism in music means a band will be quiet. But New York band Sleigh Bells have used their really singular amount of instruments to allow themselves to crank up the volume. The band features Alexis Krauss a vicious band leader who uses her voice to either match the guitars vicious sound by yelling with it or contrast it with her sweet higher range, all while embodying the essence of badass in her stage show. Derek Miller plays the always distorted guitars that give the band their sharp edge. All the bands drums come from drum machines but somehow it doesn’t take away from the raw sound (the bad mixing on them only does a little though).
The band’s debut Treats, while sparing with easily accessible songs, knocks its hits out of the park. My personal favourite, “Infinity Guitars” sounds like Lorde on PCP, taking a very minimalist approach to its sound and boosting the hell out of everything. The feedback explosion at the end of the song is one of the best punk-rock moments in music in the past few years.
“Rill Rill” sounds like an early 2000’s hip-hop song ripe with old samples but it’s all original and strangely catchy. “Riot Rhythm” has a military quality to it and the mix of catchy drums and kooky vocal lines will keep you yelling “You gotta march ah ah ah ah.”
Their second album Reign Of Terror, was still a bit hard to get into but the bite was still there. “Comeback Kid” opens on an amazing drop to an intense verse, and a strangely ambient post-chorus bridge. “Demons” is all of the band’s hard bite in one song, mixing the heavy drums, slow chord drops and Krauss’ shouting vocals it’s simply just good heavy music. The band has also shown their knack for catchy lines here with the “No one else but me” section, and Krauss’ singing of “DEMONS, Cmoaannn” has this dark, ugly quality that just makes it all the more unique.
Lastly is a cut off their recent release. While “Bitter Rivals” may be a little much at times, there is no denying the utter hook of the chorus “You are my bitter rival, but I need you for survival” it will get stuck in your head. Mix this with the attack of the song and you can understand why Sleigh Bells are a band that not only cross genre but do so violently.