Previewed: Sleigh Bells

Bubblegum pop meets experimental hardcore.

Pop princess meets hardcore band member in a restaurant, forms band. Sounds like a Disney movie, but it isn’t.

Meet Sleigh Bells. Singer Alexis Krauss had a background in theatre and television, was a member of a teen pop group (RubyBlue) from the age of 12 to 16, went to college where she majored in political science and taught Spanish to elementary school children in the Bronx whilst performing at weddings for fun. The other half of Sleigh Bells, Derek Miller was a guitarist with experimental hardcore band Poison the Well from 1998-2004, when he left due to creative differences after recording their third album.

Having met in a Brooklyn restaurant where Miller was working, despite both being somewhat disillusioned with performing, Sleigh Bells was formed and there has been no looking back. Nor has there been any waiting around – three albums since forming only four years previously is a formidible accomplishment.

They launched into the public eye at a CMJ Showcase in 2009 – a wall of amplifiers through which Miller’s raspy guitar sounds were relayed, contrasting with Krauss’ bubblegum-pop vocals. It’s a combination which works well and one which had fans hooked. Pitchford voted it ‘Best New Music’ and NME labeled it ‘resoundingly brilliant’. Festival, live-show and television offers flooded in (they have appeared on the likes of Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Kimmel) and the band prepared to release their debut EP Sleigh Bells and shortly afterwards their debut album Treats, quickly to be followed by their highly anticipated sophomore piece Reign of Terror. Not ones to sit around, within months of the release of Reign of Terror they started writing their third studio album Bitter Rivals which was released in 2013.

Sleigh Bells are a curious mixture. They fuse pop hooks with guitar riffs, electronic beats and dreamy vocals. It is easy to hear elements of punk, metal, hip hop, electronica, r&b and pop. It is this fresh, juxtaposing approach which has lead to them being described as noise pop. They draw on influences as diverse as Def Leppard to Janet Jackson.

However you describe or label them, they are certain to bring a raucous show to town. Think ear splitting drums and cymbals, strobe lights, strutting, moshpits, euphoric riffs and stage diving (Derek once broke a rib doing so).

Sleigh Bells perform at Gorilla on 3rd July. Tickets £13.50 plus booking fee in advance.

Editorial Team

Author: Editorial Team

Live Manchester editorial team