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Sleigh Bells: Texis Album Review

Sleigh Bells: Texis Album Review

In 2016, Demi Lovato and Sleigh Bell were opponents in a copyright infringement lawsuit, despite struggling with the same fundamental problem: How do you recreate the daring, bleach-pounding shock of the band’s debut in 2010? Treats without tearing it off completely? Today, this sound is virtually public property: the term “hyperpop” once described the duo of Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller before it became a dominant genre. The charts are filled with ascending actions that blow bubblegum tunes over shaved guitars, while quarrels over cheerleading outfits, prom dresses and pilfered pop-punk hooks span generations. As it turns out, four years of silence have achieved what the band’s last few releases –Bitter rivals, Jessica Kanin, and Kid Krushevcould not: make Sleigh Bells sound like part of indie rock’s present. More than anything else, it is this wave of benevolence that creates Texis feels like the most legitimately inspired Sleigh Bell album in almost a decade, despite not being completely different from what preceded it.

The duo’s path to this point is a familiar one: immediately perfecting an audiovisual aesthetic, a “more of the same, but a little less” follow-up and a much longer and intermittently successful stretch that stopped bothering a total demolition or reinvention. Texis reaches a new stage where the Sleigh Bells acknowledge what worked in the first place without admitting defeat or falling back on their old tricks. The opener “SWEET75” promises a victory big enough to amplify any everyday performance, and whether it’s the first new Sleigh Bells song you’re heard since 2017 or 2010, it confirms their vision: riffs from an era of stuffed pants and hockey stick guitars, exaggerated drum machines and lyrics within the range of cheerleaders for motivational speakers. It also restores the relationship between Krauss and Miller, who have served the band far beyond their method of walling every single element, one similar to that of an R&B powerhouse, and their cunning, savant producer.

Sleigh Bells were hardly the only band in the early 2010s that tried to undermine classic forms of pop with a chain of distortion pedals, but unlike their scuzzies, sloppy peers, their music always threatened the possibility of becoming the real one. thing. But no matter how much command and charisma Krauss brings Texis it still sounds quaint, not necessarily more catchy than a number of contemporary bands that do not face the same hang-ups from indie listeners. Sleigh Bells still know a good hook when they hear one, and when they do, they repeat it as much as possible – to the point where it sounds like ad copy. When Krauss shouts “I feel like dynamite!” throughout “Locust Laced” the music does not evoke a particular emotion as much as the tone of an empowering rom-com on Netflix trying to create a mood where none existed before.

Texis embodies a modern approach to music consumption by recognizing that only 20 seconds of a song really needs to stick. Isolate so much time from almost anywhere on the album, and something refreshing happens: the horror show keys and powerful vocal samples of “An Acre Lost”, the way “Justine Go Genesis” drives drum-n-bass / now-metal hybrids of Art angels through a Big Muff, or the chorus of ā€œIā€™m Not Down,ā€ which beat their synthy, festival-pop sequels in their own play.

Almost all of these fleeting moments of crackling energy require a larger, unifying purpose. And yet, it’s hard to trace any emotional flow in the music. What motivates Sleigh Bells at this point? Although Pom Pom Squad, Illuminati Hotties or Turnstile could not exist without Treats, they have all advanced its template by imprinting their own personality on everything they touch. While the Sleigh Bells have made significant changes since their successful beginnings, they have not been able to displace the original. The most emblematic moment of Texis happens at the end of “SWEET75.” “Aren’t you a little too old for rock and roll?” Krauss sings, and it’s a rhetorical question: Sleigh Bells may suggest changing their own narrative, but the old one still works fine.


Buy: Rough Trade

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