How do you follow up an album that was part hip hop beats, crashing guitars, noise, fluttery vocals and noise? Easy, you refine your sound a little bit and listen to a ton of Def Leppard. The inventive duo of Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss, aka Sleigh Bells, return with an interesting sophomore release. In 2010 the name of the game was abrasive noise pop/rock, and now the tables have turned a little, thus producing a more accessible record.
It all starts with a recording of a show from New Orleans and then mixes into the opening track “True Shred Guitar” which brings to mind “Jimmy James” from the Beastie Boys album Check Your Head. If the first track of an album gives you some insight for what is coming your way, then shredding guitar is what you’re about to get. There is something to be said for the Jackson electric guitar with that distinct sound and menace that Miller pours on each track.
To compliment that guitar sound, the love of industrial jamming, and those infectious beats, you hear Krauss’s voice float on each track. At some points she has that crazy reverb thing going and others she is lulling you along for 36 minutes. The big difference this time is the content of those lyrics. On the first album it sounded like a jilted high school girl seeking revenge on the popular kids, whereas now we hear songs about tragedy and sadness, which is a more mature approach this time around.
Check out: “Comeback Kid”, “D.O.A.”, “Born to Lose”, “End of the Line” and “Leader of the Pack”which is not a cover of the Shangri-La’s classic, sorry folks. If you love 80’s glam riffs, sweet vocals and a lot of noise you’d best grab a copy. This was a worthy follow up, Avid Reader, and I think many would agree with me.