I’ll also openly admit that the first time I listened to any tracks by Sleigh Bells was this morning (before reading the Voice review) after seeing them mentioned on Brooklyn Vegan. I’d heard of the band before. Just hadn’t bothered to check out their music. The music is fine.
And I basically don’t care.
Now, I’m trying to wrap my head around this. According to Harvilla, people were screaming in worship of these new hipster gods. But to me, Sleigh Bells sound like bits and pieces of NIN, The Kills, Amanda Blank, and all those female pop singers on the radio whose names I don’t know because they all sound alike–sampled, stirred around a bit, and (per Harvilla) played at an excruciatingly loud volume. Frankly, I’m bored.
This blend of sonic components we’ve already heard in other contexts does not juxtapose genres that are disparate enough to be interesting when combined, and the combination is not cohesive enough to sound to me like anything more original than a Girl Talk mashup. (To be fair, Girl Talk has a heck of a lot of skill–arguably more than Sleigh Bells.)
My point is, if you put carrots, onions, kidney beans, and potatoes into a pot with some water, you haven’t created a new food in the way that you do when you turn flour (and other ingredients) into a pastry via a chemical reaction in your oven. When you make a stew, you chop stuff up and mix it together, but it all pretty much retains its original character, just in smaller pieces and in a different, randomized array. But when you take something as basic and mostly flavorless as flour, yeast, eggs, etc., and turn them into a wedding cake that looks like a Japanese pagoda–well then you’ve done something magnificent.
And that’s how I feel about Sleigh Bells.