REVIEW: Sleigh Bells – Treats

All the kids these days

As you may know, I love a lot of bands. Some bands, however, blow your fucking mind right off the bat. Such is the case when “Tell ‘Em” by Sleigh Bells started on my headphones, and I understand why I had been told that my face was going to be blown off. Few bands elude a descriptor these days, but somehow, on my first few listens, the only word that comes to mind is: Loud.

Describing Treats is a mostly pointless affair. There’s a large array of different sounds and concepts, though it’s all built arround an undercurrent of noise pop. Album opener “Tell ‘Em” is a soaring, somehow life-affirming chant along that verifies that it’s not always ridiculous to put pop vocals over immense riffs and sound layering. “Kids” and “Infinity Guitars” bring a style of hip-hop from another dimension, laying waste to everything around it. “Rill Rill” builds layer upon layer on top of bittersweet pop nothings that, for the keen eared listener, capture the lack of teen innocence flawlessly in lyrics about what your boyfriend thinks about your braces.

Recent bands like Wavves and Surfer Blood have reset the limits of where noise pop is allowed to go, and for what it’s worth, that’s a great thing. Sleigh Bells, however, push it a little farther with the one-two punch near the end of the record, with “Crown On The Ground,” a triumphant chant-along track, followed by “Straight A’s,” a song so fuzzed-out that it almost puts My Bloody Valentine to shame. “A/B Machines” takes this even further, the song growing more and more by the second, with guitarist Derek Miller ripping out the same riff over and over, with mesmerizing precision and flow.

There are maybe 10 seconds of Treats where there is any space in between anything. My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth made it okay to pour everything on top of everything, and this never was the worst thing in the world. Sleigh Bells is a fresh take on it, because instead of thinking outside the box, they merely expand the boxes they have to work with. Treats is a breath of fresh air in a world where “pop” is a dirty word, and I bless them for taking it all to its most logical conclusion.


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