Eleven years feels like lifetimes ago and yesterday all at once. The confusing vines of time wrap themselves tightly around memories and avoid the darkness of monotony like the bog of eternal stench. Many of us could pull a small handful of recollections out of 2010, but that was also the year the first gut punch and opening track “Tell ‘Em” landed in our ears from the Brooklyn, New York duo Alexis Krauss (vocals) and Derek Edward Miller (producer/guitarist).
Now, eleven years since their debut LP, an EP, and three subsequent LPs later Sleigh Bells finds themselves staring reality in the eye.
Fear not, the 5th LP from Sleigh Bells, Texis (September 10th Mom + Pop Music), embodies the blistering pace married with melodic engagement we’ve come to anticipate over the years. The second decade for the duo begins with a rich, high-octane double-fisted anthem of unbridled explosive sound swirling into a mesmerizing mix that equally captivates and energizes. Where the noise pop sound flourishes however, is in its honesty.
Sleigh Bells is, and always has been, a chaotic assembly of noise pop masterfully wrangled within the fluid talents of a remarkable duo. Texis is no small addition to that already dynamic collection of albums, but this time around, they aimed to get real. Derek Edward Miller explains “we stopped worrying about whether or not we’re in or out of our comfort zone, or if we were being repetitive or formulaic,” and the resulting eleven tracks embodies switching the safety off while simultaneously stepping into a confidence that propels Sleigh Bells even further into the stratosphere of success. The trajectory from Treats, Reign of Terror, through Jessica Rabbit, deviates with purpose at Texis, if only slightly. In retrospect, while maintaining a drawing sound, the previous releases now feel caught in a current of placation. We quickly find comfort in what is Sleigh Bells, but there’s enough here to bring about new discoveries within their sound.
Sleigh Bells holds the reigns to an almost anarchist chaos in the left hand and melodic bliss in the right, allowing us to focus on one or the other at any given time. When you step back and see the figure, Texis, in the middle, an entity which has achieved a visible (audible) sense of freedom in who/what they are, it becomes apparent the balance found is not easy, yet it is fulfilling. The anticipated feverish tempos and balance of electronic with Krauss’ hypnotic vocals more than satisfies. Sleigh Bells steps brilliantly into decade number two, eleven years since Treats, with Texis. In eleven years we may look back and see this too is a memory we can’t shake, but that’s for the future and on September 10th, Mom + Pop and Sleigh Bells make it the now.