Sleigh Bells-TREATS

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Sleigh Bells TREATS

Hayley Hosman talks about Sleigh Bells' debut release, Treats.

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Heavy guitar and airy female vocals don't always result in evanescent metal pop. In fact, former Poison the Well guitarist Derek Miller and singer Alexis Krauss discovered a more festive alternative: Sleigh Bells.

The Brooklyn duo's debut album Treats is an aggressive statement of loyalty to aesthetics. Songs like single "Crown on the Ground" and "A/B Machines" - both released on a demo in 2009 - feature relentless and unwavering synths and riffs. With anthemic rage, Miller's guitars set the stage for fist-pumping rides in raised trucks. Then Krauss arrives with vocals that alternate between Karen O yells, falsettos and sequenced "oohs" and "ahs."

The tracks work together to impart explosive tracks worthy of stadiums, confronted by subtle female vocals. In such a universe, it makes sense that a song entitled "Kids" would start off with Krauss moaning sexually, and that "Infinity Guitars" would feature brief and sparse guitar riffs amid mostly vocals and drums.

These contradictions add to the band's general air of defiance. Peerless track "Rill Rill" functions as a modern day Mary Poppins sing-a-long with an M.I.A.-style backing track (Sleigh Bells are on M.I.A.'s label).

Ripping along with 11 tracks in 32 minutes, Treats is a celebration of controlled cacophony. The ball-breaking guitars throughout are undercut by lyrics like, "wonder what your boyfriend thinks about your braces."

The band is dedicated to their formula and its incongruities. At its weakest, Treats is a clamor of whining guitars and incessant synth-like vocals. At their strongest, Sleigh Bells are an assault on the senses for the sake of unleashing inner dancing demons. So grab a reindeer and join the ruckus.

- Hayley Hosman

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