Sleigh Bells: Treats (Mom + Pop/NEET) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sleigh Bells

Treats

Mom + Pop/NEET

Jun 03, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Despite a name that evokes thoughts of Christmas kitsch and a stage persona that leaves many cold, Sleigh Bells are here to stay. With the blown-out speaker quality of last year’s widely-circulated, under-produced demos (“Ring Ring,” “Crown on the Ground,” “Beach Girls,” “Infinity Guitars”) tamed to a more palatable squeal, multi-instrumentalist Derek Miller and vocalist Alexis Krauss have created a delicious summer album, shimmying through the worlds of pop, electro, and hip-hop like a pair of sugar-buzzed kids in a candy store. While the lasting power of Treats past the warm weather months may be questionable, the duo is out to make hay while the sun shines with a high octane combination of combustible beats, finger snaps, cheerleader chants, beat machines, giddy screams, and unfiltered sass.

In the grand tradition of debut albums, Treats still sounds like a band trying to figure out exactly what it is they do. When sticking to their respective strengths (Her: coquettish tough-girl charm. Him: crisp backbeats and crunchy guitars) Treats is downright banging. Sure we’ve already heard the majority of the best cuts in demo form, but shined to a glossy guilty-pleasure sheen, they paint a pretty picture. The hooks of “Infinity Guitars” are worth revisiting, and even the brainless spoken segments of “Kids” (retooled from the goofy fun of “Beach Girls”) are guaranteed to elicit a smile. Sure come autumn every Beverly Hills 90210 come-lately will have optioned “Rill Rill” as their girls-just-wanna-have-fun anthem, but can you really begrudge them an acoustic tune so fluffy it plays like a double mocha straight to the brain? On the opposite side of the coin is the downright genius “A/B Machines,” featuring rapped line “Got my A machines on the table/Got my B machines in the drawer” stretched across hypnotic, rapid-fire beats.

Addictive as the highs might be, Treats sags noticeably when Miller and Krauss stray too far from their comfort zones. “Run the Heart” flirts with mediocrity, but is redeemed by Krauss’ slinky delivery of promise/threat “You can take a heart/I can take out you.” However, even base sexuality can’t save “Rachel.” The track’s heavy breathing opening feels like a trite eleventh hour attempt to save a song marred with lazy instrumentals and generic cooingthe collective discordance creating a gestalt that’s decidedly less than the sum of its parts. Meanwhile their aimless and abrasive stab at hardcore, “Straight A’s,” simply flunks. Thankfully though, the low points are brief and Miller and Krauss connect more than they misscreating an album that’s more sweet than sour. Treats may disappear quickly, but it’s sure to leave behind a pleasant buzz. (www.myspace.com/sleighbellsmusic)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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R88
June 4th 2010
1:03am

apart from the rating, which i feel is a touch too low, i would written pretty much the same review even down to the specific things about the tracks. well done laura, and it’s not only cos i agree with you. very thorough and constructive arguments compared to other UTR reviewers.

kd3
June 4th 2010
6:58pm

“rachel” is about a girl that was murdered in florida…the heavy breathing at the beginning of the song is not sexual.  it is the breathing of a girl running away from her murderer.

vCloud
January 31st 2011
7:53pm

Great review, but I would disagree on the rating. I would put it at a six at most. As high as the highs on this album are, they simply cannot overcome the lows brought about by “Straight A’s” and “Rachel”. It’s a shame because so much of the rest of the album is phenomenal. A bit of time spent revising(or deleting altogether) a few songs would have put Treats on top.

Lisa Schmuck
April 6th 2011
10:02am

I have listened last week to Sleigh Bells the first time and really like their music. They are not very known in Germany but I think I’m gone buy the album and tell my friends about them.

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