Sleigh Bells, “Treats” (2010)

Dear Santa,

This Christmas I want thick (thicc) juicy and girthy beats that drop from the sky like a hailstorm of frogs onto unsuspecting eardrums. Beats shrouded in an impenetrable layer of fuzz scuzz and noise, beats that are hard, not especially funky, that’ll get you hooked like a crackhead junky. Beats like the sound of tinfoil and flesh hitting concrete. I want beats that’ll sate my desire for pop rhythm and structure, and also my desire for abrasion. Ear candy that’ll give you tinnitus. My Bloody Valentine with a pulse; Candy Claws for people who want to dance. An exercise in immediacy.

Can you help?

Dec

————-

Dear Dec,

You’ve been an underachieving little shit this year (good work on the blog though, Lester Bangs), and I hear you’re doing a Masters in film so good fucking luck getting a job with that. I figure you could do with some light relief, and I’ve got just the thing. The weirdly precise specifications in your request lead me to think you already know what album you want for Christmas; could you instead be writing a ham-fisted concept review?

But just as a bored Film student must write pieces of hifalutin nonsense nobody will read, so Santa must deliver the goods. I think the album “Treats”, by the noise pop band Sleigh Bells, will fit the bill nicely.

I lack your flair for the dramatic and also willingness to (un)ironically use the word “thicc”, but even an out-of-touch Luddite such as myself can’t deny the sheer force and pull of the beats on this album. But stop being such a basic listener! Accompanying these beats is a wonderful, almost childlike reliance on melody and lyrics that wouldn’t be out of place on a Sarah Records compilation. There’s more than surface pleasure to be had here.

I also think you should take note of the conciseness of the album. Italo Calvino said that conciseness was something he admired most in a work of art, and the fact that this albums makes such a headstrong and wilful impression that lingers for weeks after the first listen whilst also being just over half an hour is commendable. It leaves you wanting more and provides plenty of reasons to revisit it.

These songs are all of the same mode, which makes it hard to recommend one in particular, and the album is definitely best digested as a solid slab of noise; however, the song “Crown on the Ground” has such a brute force impact that I think boxers should inject it into their veins before a match, and Olympic runners should snort it before a race. It’s got enough moxy to become everyone’s personal anthem.

Vocalist Alexis Krauss and instrumentalist Derek Miller are obviously onto a good thing, and I hope you find it as much of a pleasure coming down your chimney as I did when my Elf showed me it on Soundcloud.

Stay Naughty

Mr Claus x

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