In 2011, I was introduced to a band called Sleigh Bells, immediately became obsessed with the band’s first album, Treats, and was certain they would soon be seen as one of the most important bands in Noise Pop.
Then they ruined everything. With the rushed-yet-lazy efforts of subsequent albums Reign of Terror and Bitter Rivals, they took all of their ironic, over-produced Power Pop tendencies and removed every trace of irony from them, essentially becoming a forgettable Pop band who happened to use distorted guitars.
Jessica Rabbit is a bit of an oddity, then. This record, like the previous two, is an alright-ish effort of what is basically just pop with loud guitars, but the style is noticeably different in a few ways. The album is nowhere near as safe as those past records; there are experimental moments scattered all over the place, with new elements being brought to their sound on nearly every song – a welcome decision following two albums where every song sounded the exact same.
Take ‘Hyper Dark’ for instance. This track completely abandons the maximalist approach of Sleigh Bells’ usual output, instead relying on a darker atmosphere, permeated by fading guitar lines and almost FKA Twigs-esque vocals. It’s probably the best song on the album, too.
The rest of the album goes for that aforementioned maximalism, however, and pulls it off in the same hit-or-miss fashion we’ve come to expect from the band. Awkwardly cut samples of guitars and synths are used to great effect, which gives the album its own identity, adding a sort of irony to their interpretations of modern pop which we haven’t seen since Treats.
This album is a step in the right direction for Sleigh Bells, but content-wise, there’s really nothing amazing here.