Sleigh Bells is one of the biggest new buzz bands of 2010. Their debut Treats was released in the craze that was May 2010’s release scene, so I kind of deliberately missed it.I’d heard the first single and album-opener “Tell ‘Em” and wasn’t blown away the way that everyone else was, so I didn’t consider it the utmost on my listening list.
The main driving force between all of the praise for Sleigh Bells has been their sound, which is certainly unlike anything else out right now but while this may artistically interesting, it isn’t always aesthetically successful.It’s noise pop and it definitely has a lot of noise; the entire album seems to be as maxed out as possible and forgoes any sonic subtlety.
So then, why exactly is “Rill Rill,” the seventh song on the album so good? It is, after all, the song that made me check out the album. It wasn’t the critical praise or anything else I’d heard from them.
Well, it’s just as loud as the album for one–so much so that going from it to a song by any other band is weirdly startling, but the big difference is that it is much, much less noise and much more pop. Alexis Krauss’ vocals are given a bit more focus and blend in well with the production that’s driven mostly by an acoustic guitar and piano (it reminds me a lot of parts of Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, though much more poppy). These two instruments are the biggest difference from the rest of the album and are what give the song its biggest jump in sound.
There also seems to be a much greater focus on melody on “Rill Rill” than on the rest of the album, which seems much more about how loud they can make shit get than about how good they can make it sound. This is most telling when Alexis Krauss is given full stage and all other production is dropped save a basic drum beat. Simply, no other song on Treats could even survive something like this.
Let’s hope Sleigh Bells goes further in the direction of “Rill Rill” on their next album. That’s something I would definitely pay for.
Sleigh Bells | Rill Rill [download]