Album review: Reign of Terror by Sleighbells

By Patricia Wright

I freaked the f*ck out when I heard that there was a new Sleigh Bells album coming out. I admit that I shamelessly downloaded their leaked tracks, “Comeback Kid” and “Born to Lose” and listened to them with squealing anticipation. Their first album, Treats, had changed my life musically because it was unlike anything I had ever heard before. However, I felt that their sophomore effort, Reign of Terror, was under-whelming. It was often hard to discern Alexis Krauss’ layered, girlish vocals because they were buried under Derek Miller’s distorted guitars and sledgehammer beats. All of these things were what made Treats so refreshing and exciting to listen to. But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, and that’s the case with Reign of Terror. I think that Sleigh Bells have definitely become much more sure of themselves as a band. However, there’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance. I would like to think that, when it comes to music, I am adventurous and willing to follow wherever a musician is trying to take me. So maybe I’m just resistent to change, but I just felt like I was being bombarded with the same guitar riffs and incomprehensible lyrics in every song. It was as if the Transformers autobots started a band and then hired James Blake’s sister to sing and write one lyric per song to be repeated 20 times. The most listen-worthy tracks are “Demons,” “Comeback Kid,” and “Born to Lose” because they had the most lyrical complexity and variety of instrumentation and sound. I think this album has some potential, but for now, I’m going to give them some advice from one of their own songs, “You gotta try a little harder/you’re the comeback kid!”