x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Reign of Terror by the Sleigh Bells: keeping the fans happy

The duo's follow-up album is still as ear-shreddingly loud as ever, but the musical palette expands for slicker vocals and a new metallic edge.

Reign of Terror
Mom & Pop Music

Brooklyn's Sleigh Bells are indie music's odd couple: former teen pop singer Alexis Krauss teamed up with Derek E Miller, the guitarist from the hardcore act Poison The Well.

Their debut album Treats was hailed for its raucous mix of heavy riffs, hip-hop beats and 1960s girl-group vocals. The fact the album was a hot sticky mess made it all the more endearing. It tapped into rock's feral side, something missing in a scene where bands rock for looks, not thrills.

The duo's follow up, Reign of Terror, doesn't alter the style too much - it's still as ear shreddingly loud as ever - but the musical pallette expands for slicker vocals and a new metallic edge.

The most pleasing factor here is that the duo works collaboratively. Leader of The Pack sounds like The Ronettes teaming up with Sonic Youth as Krauss' cooed harmonies and handclaps neatly combine with Miller's choppy riffs. Demons is a highlight with its stadium-sized riffs and Krauss delivering her most fiery vocals yet. But when you play on the edge, there's bound to be a downside.

Born to Lose sounds too static while You Lost Me could have been a promising power ballad if it wasn't suffocated by heavy riffs.

Reign of Terror may not surpass the Sleigh Bells' debut, but there is still enough going on to keep their hipster fan-base happy.