For Fans Of
Three albums in and it kind of feels like Sleigh Bells are just doing the same thing over and over again. It’s tough however as what more can they really do? Never has a group had this much mainstream potential minus their initial intent. Their first album ‘Treats,’ sounded like people who literally didn’t give a fuck about anything, they were there to party and make noise.
The popularity of this though meant that they needed to refine things a little and capitalise on their momentum, and this is what the follow-up, ‘Reign Of Terror’ tried to do, unsuccessfully of course because it’s a boring record of recycled ideas. So where are they left to go with ‘Bitter Rivals?’
Luckily, it sounds like the band has returned to their careless attitude with a touch of refinement. The perfect balance of the first two offerings. The opening and title track is a throwback, a haze of distorted noise with a big beat and the sweet chirps of Alexis Krauss’ voice. ‘Sugarcane‘, shows off some abilities of Krauss‘ vocals that we may not have been aware existed. To say this track takes some cues from modern day pop music is an understatement, it is only brought back down to the Sleigh Bells world by Derek E. Miller’s grating and harsh guitars.
The mid-section of the record is where things start to move away from familiar territory. ‘Young Legends’, for example, is radio-pop without any trace of the SB aesthetic. The group move to a floating, dreamy, pretty place with ‘To Hell With You’ before bringing things back down into dark, industrial territory, while still trimming with pop, for ‘24′.
Closer ‘Love Sick’, is one of the stand-outs and the best example of the symmetry between the mainstream and unique elements of this group. All of Sleigh Bells’ music moving forward should sound like this track, it is the balance that it has taken the band three albums to find, and they got there at the last possible moment.
Your love for this record will depend on what you expect from Sleigh Bells and which of their first two records you side more with? If the answer is that you are a fence sitter, you will thoroughly enjoy ‘Bitter Rivals’ as it is the best combination of old and new elements this band has created so far.
1. Bitter Rivals
4. Single Like A Wire
5. Young Legends
6. Tiger Kit
7. You Don’t Get Me Twice
8. To Hell With You
10. Love Sick