17 November, 2009

Sleigh Bells before Thanksgiving (and I swear I'm not becoming a consumer whore)

As far as dynamic duos go, there is a lot to live up to in music. Gilbert & Sullivan, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Simon & Garfunkel, Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The list could go on for awhile, but I'll spare you boredom and get to the juicy bits.

Sleigh Bells!

Their name sounds slightly twee, or at the very least gives off an adorably indie vibe like early Fiery Furnaces albums (Bitter Tea's "Benton Harbor Blues" kept me smiling for weeks). But, hidden within the jingly, jangly, jolly moniker, we find a duo that makes musical noise not unlike M.I.A. meeting New Young Pony Club in a bar and getting in a fist-fight over a synthesizer. I guess what I am trying to get at is that Sleigh Bells' songs don't always sound particularly "musical" in the sense that the melody does not always follow an aurally pleasing route. So what? I like these songs nonetheless, and if I like them, then you know they've gotta be good. (I really hope people who don't know me can read my sarcasm.)

Anyway, here's your basic blog breakdown. Four songs exist on the Sleigh Bells' MySpace site, as well as three videos of the band performing live, and an advertisement for a Thursday night show at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. First we have "A/B Machines," a repetitive, banging blast of electro-dance music. It makes me long for nights with glow sticks and crowds of people dancing under circus tents (and there aren't many things that make me feel this way). "Crown on the Ground" squeals into place with wailing guitar and a bomb backbeat. "Infinity Guitars" starts off with a Kinks-esque riff, and some yelled lyrics that remind me of Le Tigre, and follows this pattern through and through with increased intensity as the song progresses. Finally, we've got "Ring Ring," which stays fairly mellow even with the inclusion of panting, clapping, and rumbling/rolling drums in the background.

Maybe there is a secret atavism, a primitive need to dance your ass off, that makes this kind of music really very accomplished. In any case, it is nothing like Gilbert & Sullivan, or R & H, or Simon & Garfunkel, and only the energy level is similar to Elton and Bernie's early stuff. But it is still worth hearing, and also worth owning a few songs in order to get that party pumping with something besides Shwayze and Jay Sean. Not that there is anything wrong with dancing to this music – it's fun! – but you should never limit yourself to the songs that are popular right now. Those songs are usually fairly fleeting, and the songs that you enjoy will be around for awhile.

Sleigh Bells "Crown on the Ground" LIVE at Le Poisson Rouge NYC from AbzPunkPhoto on Vimeo.

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