|Photo by: Amazon|
Key Tracks: "Born to Lose," "Leader of the Pack," "Comeback Kid"
To truly appreciate Sleigh Bells' album Reign of Terror, you have to turn the volume all the way up.
When it's loud enough that you can't hear yourself think, then you can get the full effect of the blaring guitar and sweet vocals that the duo delivers on their much anticipated sophomore record. However, the band has polished their noise-pop sound, so much of the grittiness to their tracks are gone. They still dish out a chaotic wall of sound that's punchy, it's just not as rough overall.
The album opens up with the concert-recorded track "True Shred Guitar" that showcases the aggressive energy the band can bring when they perform live, especially with the wailing skills of guitarist Derek Miller.
Quickly following is the steady beat of "Born to Lose." With its almost hypnotic rhythm, you'll find yourself rocking back and forth while the cool harmonies of singer Alexis Krauss glide over top the electronic cadences.
Next, clapping and stomping sounds straight out of a high school basketball game opens the succeeding track. "Crush" pairs Krauss' flirtatious vocals with the stadium cheers and pure rock guitar that results in an overall '80s vibe.
Lightening the tone is "End of the Line," which sounds very similar to "Rill Rill" from the band's previous album Treats. Except for The Strokes-like strumming at the chorus, there's nothing really notable about this track and it just plays on longer than needed.
"Leader of the Pack" comes next and starts with a little synth twinkle and snapping before the band hits full force with a mash of everything they've got. This track really shows what Sleigh Bells is all about with their intricate layers and mix of electronic rock-pop.
Following up is the first single off the album, "Comeback Kid." You can feel Krauss' swagger as she sweetly spits out the song's catchy lyrics and coasts over the killer instrumental background--'nuff said.
The duo then channels punk rock in the next two tracks, "Demons" and "Road to Hell," with screeched vocals, attitude-filled swooning, and heavy guitar throughout the two.
Then comes "You Lost Me," a dreamy tune that sounds so hazy it could put you in a trance were it not for the serious rock riffs at the end to wake you up. The metal-sounding melody then continues into "Never Say Die" where the synth chords are interspersed with a simple three note theme from the previous haze.
Krauss' breathy echoes are the last thing heard on the album in the final track called "D.O.A." Her vocals sound haunting against the pulsating chords, finishing the record on an eerie note.
Overall, the duo progressed and Reign of Terror shows off their style in subtle ways at times, while punching you in the ear at others. Still, the album doesn't go far enough to really surpass their last record and instead sits with a group of songs on the brink of brilliance.
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