Alexi Krauss and Derek Miller are now into the third album of the discography for their noise pop/rock duo known to the general public as Sleigh Bells. I’m personally waiting for them to hit the five album mark so I can simply cherry pick the singles for a ‘best of,’ collection.
This band finds its roots in others like The Raveonettes, The Pixies and Andrew WK. While they take the collective wisdom of those precursors…they have not proven to string together cohesion over the course of 10 to 12 tracks.
Bitter Rivals opens with its title track and it’s tepid doo-wop amidst shred guitars plays like rehash. ‘Minnie’s,’ chorus sounds like Nicki Minaj guesting and just as bratty as ever. ‘Sing Like a Wire,’ – I’m not even sure I understand the sentence let alone the words together as a chorus (but hey, it rhymes with fire). At least there’s a nice Jock Jams sounding sample to serve as a backdrop.
The opening of ‘Young Legends,’ sounds like something Bloodhound Gang could come up with musically – Sleigh Bells simply add melody, but does anyone really know what Alexi Krauss is singing about? ‘Young Legends die/all the time/but I don’t mind/don’t close your eyes/and say goodbye/or be unkind/don’t do it’ I’ll take ‘SWORDS’ for $200, Alexi. ‘Tiger Kit’ isn’t much better, and ends on the line ‘make like a banana/and split.’
‘You Don’t Get Me Twice,’ is a formidable single though. It melds the band’s strengths around a groovy set of Derek Miller’s guitar noodling and Krauss’s cooing juxtaposed against a melodic condemnation of the ‘American Dream.’ It’s followed by ‘To Hell With You,’ which again applies subtle showcasing of the duo by framing the music around the melody and carrying it through from start to finish.
In fact, the last four tracks on the album are really the album’s saving grace as both ’24,’ and ‘Love Sick,’ see both experimentation with music not strictly focused on a drum loop and carefully timed guitar blasts. Time will tell if this is a band that quickly fades away as ‘Young Legends,’ would suggest or if they have staying power and enough innovative chops. One would think they may be reaching their 13th minute on this album.