Album Review: Sleigh Bells – Treats

June 1, 2010

Concept: Starring Michael Cera.

Sound: Story hour, guys and dolls. Once upon a time, some independently produced records began to experience moderate success again. Producing your own music became a fad. Then the industry got in on “indie” as some kind of snapshot genre, mimicking and processing to hell the sounds and aesthetic of the seminal bands, and this sound and aesthetic in turn influenced independent artists, until it was unclear what distinguished them from each other or what was done in jest or artistic earnest and “indie” ate itself and died in its own stomach as all counter-anythings seem to nowadays, and its corpse continued to perform base bodily functions for the next several years, giving us crossover hits in various corners of culture like Napoleon Dynamite, Pitchfork, MC Chris, Girl Talk (whom I hate myself for listening to), cookie-cutter pseudo-DIY music videos with the band holding flipbooks of itself performing or construction paper puppets with permanent marker slogans, which somehow got 60% of all corporate ads employing the same snotty feeble strategy, which is pretty much the definition of a first world humanitarian crisis, and always, always neo-retro special needs kindergarten fashion sense, hair cut with a lawnmower blade and a cereal bowl during a tsunami and plaid flannel chullos and sloganized tees against sloganized tees and glasses with rims at least twice the thickness of your femur and the bleeding-ears-loud wallpaper tights under jean skiiiiiirts wauuuuggghhh. In short, we became the world’s Japan, since Japanese culture is no longer recognized as something of this earth.

No.

Newest king of the hill in the incestuous orgy pile is Sleigh Bells, with harmless sex-kitten vocals buried under blaring keyboard guitars performing every radio trope you never wanted to hear again. That’s it. That’s Treats, its “energetic” “riffs” and “beats” hoisted on high as the #1 guilty-pleasure of the summer among critics by the power of reverse psychology, i.e. the novelty of its redundancy. I will admit nobody has ever been this rehashed in this way. If that’s genre-bending, I quit. No, I don’t care if M.I.A. likes it. Before the horrifying disappointment which was /\/\/\Y/\, M.I.A. actually sounded good once cranked through the studio, in total contrast to her embarrassing live act and in total contrast to everything Sleigh Bells does. The catch is that allegedly if you turn the music all the way up it sounds completely different. Since I gave the benefit of the doubt to noise band Sunn O))) way back when I was unaware this gag actually existed, I gave it now. The result was an honest-to-goodness headache that lasted the entire day. I caught some more keyboards dicking around than previously thought. Way to hide the only semblance of a redeeming quality in your instrumentation beneath a mile of garbage, Sleigh Bells.

Lyrics: Behold the cheerleading stylinz of twee, the equivalent of wetting your pants as a joke, which sort of jives with Sleigh Bells’ stage presence in the first place. “Have a heart, have a heart, have a heart/ sixteen six six six like the Pentagon /… / we form a tarot pack/ and I’m aware of that/ but we could fist fight drunk like the parent trap/ keep thinking about every straight face yes/ wonder what your boyfriend thinks about your braces/ we never blink see/ and you can see me/ we fell asleep in the middle of the fury/ so this is it then?/ you’re here to win friends/ click click saddle up see you on the moon then/ you’re all alone friend/ pick up their phones then/ ring ring call them up/ tell them about the new trends“. Quitting before you start so you can’t fail hasn’t worked for any lyricist since the Beatles, when the majority of the Western world was too busy sitting on a handknit blanket in a mud pit staring at the spirit colors flowing from their hands to remember what languages they spoke. What’s your excuse?

Quick And Dirty: I’m adding an extra star to buffer against my venomous prejudice against this stupid junk. (♦♦)

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