It’s been 3 years since Sleigh Bells has come out with a new album. The band’s new work of art, Jessica Rabbit, was mixed by Andrew Dawson (think Kanye West and Tyler, the Creator) and has just been liberated today.
The album does not disappoint. It’s unique, quirky, flirtatious, and just a tad bit intimidating. Jessica Rabbit is, without a doubt, a masterpiece in the making. It extracts only the very boldest parts of contrasting genres of music- genres that have very rarely played in the same pen- and forces them to co-exist. Like shoving a Cheetah and a Leopard in a room together: “Have at it, you two, let’s see what happens.”
In the video for the opening track, “It’s Just Us,” begins with Krauss submerged in an above ground swimming pool, makeup smeared down her cheeks, red, pointed nails a lethal weapon in disguise. She is venomous, tattooed on both arms, hands running through untidy hair, clutching to hold onto her sanity. Enter Derik Miller, who wraps a black bandana around the bottom half of his face, picks up his electric guitar and proceeds through a field littered with tombstones.
The entire track is writhing in agony. “I wanna die, I wanna die with you/I’m having a hard time remembering what’s important to me.” Krauss is kneeling in the field screaming while Miller looks on with calm eyes. The contrast is stark, disturbing, yet we cannot look away. There is something so unnervingly real about the lyrics combined with images like a full moon or wide, blood-shot eyes.
The song weaves in and out of different styles with sharp transitions that work, not unlike the rest of the tracks on the album. That is the brilliance behind Sleigh Bells, they take what hasn’t been done before, collaborate, and produce an emotionally charged album brimming with originality and promising a sort of chaos that can only lead to clarity.
The music on the rest of the album is far out, abrasive … elegantly disturbing. Electronic, noise pop, metal, garage, the songs are built from zingy drum-beats, hard-hitting sonic guitar, and sometimes a sprinkling of something softer in the background.
Singer Alexis Krauss howls passionately into the microphone, belting out a divine intuition buried deep within the soul and commanding our attention with such intense sincerity we are compelled to hang onto every vocal high or plummeting low. The tracks are dressed in an array of styles; each one is extraordinarily different from the next.
One will take on a country flair while its kin will display an array of pop-punk or post-grunge. Sometimes, two genres will succumb to one another and morph to create a dizzying song of colossal proportions.
Either way, Sleigh Bells have crafted another visceral modern rock adventure with Jessica Rabbitt. Order your copy via Torn Clean here.