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The Loggia playlist: Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror (2012)

Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror

Verdict: 3 out of 5 parents disapprove

Love them or loath them, Sleigh Bells continues their Reign of Terror in true form on their sophomore album. As one of my friends put it, “It sounds a bit like high-schoolers on coke.” Personally, I’d describe it more as bubblegum-pop with an edge. Confused? You’re not alone; Sleigh Bells is a band that shouldn’t work on paper, but does anyway.

The brainchild of a former hardcore guitarist (Derek E. Miller) and a former teen-pop singer (Alexis Krauss), Sleigh Bells occupies a space between self-parody and rebellion. Their sound—described by their publicist as “the sonic equivalent of a beautiful shotgun to the head” and by everyone else as “just plain LOUD”—is not for the easily annoyed. Sleigh Bells adopts a sort of adrenaline-or-die attitude that’s present even in some of their slower, more intimate numbers like “End of the Line.” This interesting disparity between sound and emotion makes Reign of Terror a much deeper album than their first album Treats.

While somewhat lacking in the catchy, pop-infused singles like “Rill Rill” and “Tell ‘em” that made listening to Treats such a guilty pleasure, Reign of Terror makes up for it by finally bringing noise-pop to the Big Arena. There’s also a lot more rock this time around, as showcased by the Def Leppard style guitars on the opening “True Shred Guitar.” It would be absolutely mind blowing to hear this album performed live in a stadium. In fact, one could argue that it would be the only way to really experience Reign of Terror. Trust me—headphones, even good ones, just won’t do it justice. It’s an album that not only wants to be heard, but will scream in your face if you try to hide it from your friends, neighbors, and parents. Reign of Terror forces you to wear its music on your sleeve in this regard—an ingenious use of noise that makes the very act of listening seem confrontational. It’s hardly surprising that this approach has not only generated Sleigh Bells a lot of exposure, but has allowed them to piss off a larger audience than most hardcore or teen-pop acts could ever hope to alone.

The Highlights:
-At high volume, which can actually make your room, car, or house shake
-A great hardcore album for those who don’t like hardcore

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