Release Date: Sep 10, 2021
Record label: Mom + Pop Music
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Aren't you a little too old for rock and roll? When Sleigh Bells entered the scene in 2010 with their debut LP Treats, it seemed as if nobody else was doing what they were. Their novel blend of aggressive synth-rock and sugary pop hooks was as dizzying as it was euphoric - a mad scientist's concoction of clashing musical concepts that shouldn't have worked yet somehow did. The result was one of the most experimental and simultaneously enjoyable releases of its time, even if it was far from perfect.
The duo's members, Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller, have long drawn the seekers of comfort with a side of chaos, and a sensation of one's heart being reignited by strange sounds and sensational vocals. TEXIS, the pairs first album since 2016, sees them maintaining their eclectic and exciting sound, as well as unexpected pairing of near sentimental lyrics and inharmonious sound production. The title track establishes that the duo haven't strayed too far from the pulsing instrumentals, and larger than life vocals of albums past.
Back in 2010, Sleigh Bells released Treats, which immediately became one of the most exciting albums of the year. While perhaps not ground-breaking (plenty of bands have mixed sweet as saccharine pop tunes with eardrum-blasting noise), it was certainly a huge breath of fresh air at the time. Eleven years on, and Sleigh Bells’ signature sound is still plastered all over their fifth album.
Eleven years ago, indie noise pop prophets Sleigh Bells managed to transcend the indelible scarlet letter of monotonous Brooklynite hipsterdom upon the release of their acclaimed debut Treats. What ultimately prevented the untimely sealing of Sleigh Bells' youthful fate all those years ago was the biting humor and sincere morbidity of dynamic frontwoman Alexis Krauss, whose unassuming, sugary delivery of lines such as "Six such straight A's/Cut 'em in the bathroom"--on 2010's occult-tinged youth anthem "Rill Rill"--helped set the atmosphere of a modern pop experience unlike any other. On Texis, Sleigh Bells' fifth album and first full-length release since their 2016 high-water mark Jessica Rabbit, Krauss and guitarist Derek Miller return for another round of deafening ferocity in the guise of carefree, synth-ridden indie dream pop, underscored with crunchy trip hop beats and arena rock echoes.
In 2016, Demi Lovato and Sleigh Bells were opponents in a copyright infringement lawsuit, despite struggling with the same basic problem: How do you recreate the bold, bleacher-stomping jolt of the band's 2010 debut Treats without ripping it off completely? Nowadays, that sound is virtually public domain: The term "hyperpop" once described the duo of Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller before it became a dominant genre. The charts are filled with ascendant acts blowing bubblegum melodies over razored guitars, while squabbles over cheerleading outfits, prom dresses, and pilfered pop-punk hooks span generations. As it turns out, four years of silence have accomplished what the band's last few releases--Bitter Rivals, Jessica Rabbit, and Kid Kruschev--could not: make Sleigh Bells sound like a part of indie rock's present.
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