First Listen: Sleigh Bells, 'Treats'

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Sleigh Bells i i

Sleigh Bells. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells.

courtesy of the artist

Treats, the debut album from the electro-rock duo Sleigh Bells, is a thrill ride: It's aggressive but not macho and smart without losing its sense of fun. Most of all, it's somehow both an aural assault and a piece of pop candy, albeit one in a overblown wrapper. In Sleigh Bells, Derek Miller is responsible for the excessively compressed beats and abrupt guitars, while singer Alexis Krauss provides a melodic counterpoint, with a sweetness that can turn fierce.

For all the aural assaults contained therein, Treats lives up to its name. A guitar in "Infinity Guitars" sounds like The Kinks' Dave Davies playing "You Really Got Me," while a liberal sample from Funkadelic's Maggot Brain forms the basis for the breeziest song on the record, "Rill Rill."

The overblown percussion can be exhausting — Treats will certainly be polarizing — but this music is much warmer and bassier than any of the demos I'd heard leading up to the album's release. I recently made the mistake of putting it on at 6:45 a.m., and I don't think they meant for me to do that.

Sleigh Bells' Treats will stream here in its entirety for a week, starting on its May 11 release date. Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section below.

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