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Album Review: Sleigh Bells – Kid Kruschev

Article by Andrés Alvarado

 

Under their own record label, Torn Clean, Sleigh Bells has released Kid Kruschev; a seven-track mini-LP packing quite the punch. With their last effort, 2016’s Jessica Rabbit, Alexis Krauss and Derek E. Miller took full reins of their creative ways by adding a tad more synths and dialing back a smidgen on the stout riffs synonymous to their sound. The most notable distinction on Jessica Rabbit being Krauss’ vocalization taking on a more vital role, and Kid Kruschev has thankfully kept the ball rolling on this trend.

Like very few bands, Sleigh Bells has a bona fide distinct tonality. A notorious juxtaposition of power strings paralleled to electronica and dream pop complemented with light hints of hip-hop comes to mind. While Kid Kruschev carries said elements, it also spotlights an untrodden alley of musical maturity from this New York-based duo. Lead single “And Saints” is Sleigh Bells like we’ve never heard them before. Krauss presents entrancingly vulnerable vocals onto moody loops of mid-tempo soundscapes enhanced by elements of keyboards. Arguably, “And Saints” is Kid Kruschev’s best tune, undoubtedly a sterling addition to the Bells’ library of hits.

Latest offering “Rainmaker” is more reminiscent of what we’ve been accustomed to in past years from Sleigh Bells, albeit with a twist in the form of samples from “Ashley’s Roachclip” by The Soul Searchers’ infamous drum-loop. Krauss bellows “It was never really meant to be // You and me // I want you to be happy // You’re the rainmaker” on this anthem that starts off mellowly cool in a musical sense and steadily switches the spotlight onto Krauss’ gripping and aching croons.

Handsomely aiding the first two numbers off Kid Kruschev are the vigorous sugar-pop hooks of “Power Drills” and the atmospherically punchy progressions of album opener “Blue Trash Mattress Fire.” Synth-laden “Show Me the Door” blends in a rich electronica aspect that garners the Bells another positively noteworthy number on the new release. However, Krauss and Miller mightily whiff on “Florida Thunderstorm” by overindulging in an acoustic-guitar assisted melody that aims high to distinguish itself yet fails to conquer its listeners.

 

Ultimately, Kid Kruschev is a step-up from its predecessor Jessica Rabbit and that’s what matters most. Nearly a decade into the life-span of Sleigh Bells, Krauss and Miller have managed to keep taking steps forward and slowly but surely chip away at that solely noise-pop label that’s hovered over them. It’s pleasing to witness this pair step out of their comfort zone and explore new fusions. Sleigh Bells calls Kid Kruschev a mini-LP, I call it an early Christmas present. Cheers!

Key Tracks: “And Saints,” “Power Drills,” “Blue Trash Mattress Fire,” “Rainmaker,” and “Show Me the Door.”

Andres Alvarado

Born and raised in Queens, New York and now living in Atlanta with my wife and 3 rescue dogs. I have a passion for travel, concert photography, and discovering new music. I hope you enjoy my perspective of the vibrant Atlanta music scene.

http://www.three28photos.com

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