The New York two-piece has proven with their 2010 debut album Treats that they are stomping out a path that has not been previously travelled. They have everything that you could possibly want if you have been starved for a fresh sound, but don’t expect me to box them into a genre for you. You can call them dance rock, electro thrash, or even heavy metal for all I care, and in any case you would be both completely right and totally wrong. Songs like “Tell ‘Em” and “A/B Machines” have some heavy electronic influence, but they are executed in a way that no other electronic acts have attempted before. The blistering guitar on “Infinity Guitars” and “Treats” have the makings of a hardcore punk fan’s wet dream, but they also have thumping bass and clap driven beats that have a tinge of hip hop to them as well. Their sound seems to be coming from every direction already, and then when you think you finally have a thorough understanding of their music, you hear the melodic acoustics of “Rill Rill” and realize that you may still have no idea.
Sleigh Bells are tough to define, but that’s absolutely fine with me. Guitarist Derek E. Miller brings the musical sledgehammer that he honed from his experience in hardcore bands such as Poison the Well, while singer Alexis Krauss has the pipes of a pop princess. The combination is devastatingly good, and it is intriguing to hear something that no one else is doing. They are sweet and spicy at the same time, soft and hard all at once. Treats is the musical equivalent to a chainsaw covered in powdered sugar, or a 12-guage shotgun that fires sprinkles. Either way, nothing can be written to really convey who Sleigh Bells are, but seeing them live certainly can. They are currently on tour with dates all over the country, on some of which they will be opening for the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. They will be in my neck of the woods on October 18th with a show at Soho in Santa Barbara. The show is bound to sell out, and bound to be an amazing experience, making it the one upcoming show that I cannot recommend enough. Sleigh Bells is at the forefront of making new and completely original sounding music, and it’s bands like this that keep me excited for what the future holds.