Some of my friends and I have a running joke about certain bands being the “Avatar” of music. Bigger than anything before and technologically complex, we’ve thrown this label on the dubstep genre, but have struggled to find another band or genre to include. But, even after just one listen to “Tell Em” or “Crown on the Ground“, I had come to the conclusion that Sleigh Bells is a welcome new member of the Avatar club. Well, Treats as a whole builds on those two songs to solidify itself as a cohesive album– not the easiest of tasks for a band that has been getting blog love for over a year but was yet to release an album.
This Brooklyn duo consists of Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss. Miller played in hardcore bands before and Krauss is rooted in pop music. These seemingly conflicting backgrounds make for a very pleasant surprise. Treats explodes with killer Jack White-style guitar power, but its Krauss’ vocals that make this album such a treat (haha). On “Infinity Guitars” Krauss sounds like a cheerleader for a team I’d love to play for. I can just picture a group of girls in way-too-short skirts chanting and snorting lines on a sun-drenched sideline, while amplifiers and guitars explode behind them. It’s no surprise that M.I.A. signed these guys to her label, they sound a lot like her at times. In fact Sleigh Bells sounds like the mutant love child of her and Jack White, which is a damn exciting thing to experience.
Aside from “Tell Em” and “Crown on the Ground”, the album is packed with great songs. “Kids” is a high energy rocker, that sorta sounds like “Crown”, and “Infinity Guitars” builds with incredible power. But perhaps my favorite tune is “Rill Rill” which samples from Funkadelic’s “Can You Get To That” from its 1970’s classic Maggot Brain. It is probably the most instantly likeable of Sleigh Bells’ budding discography and should blare from backyard speakers all summer long. Treats is an excellent debut, and Sleigh Bells make a great case for the carriers of the Avatar torch, though 3D glasses won’t add to the music, it’s probably best to play this album with some quality headphones or loud speakers