March 3rd 2012
So here we are in the city that some actress calledclaimed in a recent interview Sonic Youth’s Kim Gorden was really boring and with nothing to do. Tonight there are so many gigs on in town it’s the busiest live circuit in the UK. I’m not sure who Chloe is, it says actress and model and clothes designer on the internet and she once went out with Jarvis Cocker- so she sounds like the kind of shallow, vapid celeb type that would love the irony overload of Sleigh Bells.
Sleigh Bells deal in that Guardian supplement hipster world of Hoxton pop, all pretend devil signs and stage full of ironic marshall amps and vocalist Alexis Krauss’s studded leather jacket fashion pice- sort of rock but not rock. It should all be so wrong but somehow they make it right.
Transcending the fake world of fashion and the sneering hipster cool of New York City the band make a glorious racket, the guitars actually sound great, not weedy pastiche of rock culture but actually biting, Derek Miller’s days in hardcore band Poison The Well have not been wasted and he understands how to make a fat glam racket.
Touring their second album, the band have packed the venue out and there is even some of that ironic screaming from the students that these kind of bands get these days when they enter the stage. there is a lot of love in the room for the Sleigh Bells and this could be their year to move from the fashion mags to the mainstream, the fact that they cut it live should see them through the tricky festival circuit where being a two page spread fashion mag spread means little in the pouring rain and the mud.
The songs are a mash between hip hop beats and these furious guitars with Krauss’s girl band yelp over the top, it’s bawdy, rabble rousing and very pop, they show some of the DNA leftover from their days on MIA’s label, that same sort of clever beats and dirty guitars turned into some kind of pop. It’s sexy and bold and has a hipster sneer, they turn the shallowness of mainstream pop into an artform and walk that fine line between being underground hip and mainstream regulars- they could end up like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and be in for the long run or like a flash in the pan like the Ting Tings- the margin of error is that fine.