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Top Twenty Albums

Sleigh Bells Treats

I

[NEET Recordings]

t’s hard to think of a more “2010” collaboration, a band

for this era of supposedly obliterated genre boundaries: A guy from a second-rate hardcore punk band (Derek Miller) decides to make a noisy dance album and happens on a singing refugee from a TRL-era girl-pop group turned indie ingénue-in-the-making (Alexis Krauss). The results should have been awful. Sleigh Bells should have turned out the kind of tentative, tepid record you usually get when former punks and Brooklyn art kids decide to “go pop.” ¶ Instead, Treats is the most physical, and most mindlessly fun, album released this year. Even the lyrics come out as a rush of glorious gibberish. This is a record full of babbling children, pitch-shifted cartoon voices and Krauss shrieking about… actually, 90 percent of the time I have no idea what she’s shrieking about.

Despite being a contemporary of the Backstreet Boys, Krauss sounds like she grew up secretly listening to old punk albums. The sing-song goofiness of Treats also suggests plenty of time spent watching a Banana Splits box set. Krauss’s “rapping” is sweetly silly, and usually chopped to digital nonsense by Miller, sleepy and sexy and a little robotic all at once. (Kinda like Stacey Q after a heavy ECT session.) Krauss’s alternately laid-back and amped-up playground sass is the perfect complement to the sound of Treats, which is messy in the best sense. Miller’s guitar riffs sound like Scorpions and Accept ringtones played on out-of-date phones. The bass is marrow-wobblingly deep. (Did I mention

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cowbell

this album was noisy as well as messy? Even when SB slow down to a Funkadelic-sampling lope on “Rill Rill,” shit stays noisy.) But the best thing about the Sleigh Bells sound might be the beats. Even at low volume, the drums on Treats sound huge, the way the drums on early Def Jam releases threatened to stampede right over the rapper. At a time when even hip-hop, once the last bastion of big beats, is plagued by thin and tinny rhythm tracks, Miller’s drums are less blockrocking than neighborhood-obliterating. Sleigh Bells aren’t particularly innovative, despite sounding like very little else around at the

Dimple Records' In-Store Magazine, December 2010  
Dimple Records' In-Store Magazine, December 2010  

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