While this Brooklyn noise-pop band is only a couple years old, they are seriously lacking the one element that could make this band one of the bands to see – they need a fucking drummer. So initially, Sleigh Bells was Derek Miller writing some really loud pop-rock guitar songs with Alexis Krauss providing bad-ass sultry vocals on top. The booming drum-beats are all prerecorded, and for their inception this was a fine structure for the band. But for their recently released sophomore album, Reign of Terror, Sleigh Bells have proved that they are much more than a one-shot album and also shown that they have a fully envisioned game plan for themselves.
The duo has always projected a dark sub-text from their music, touching on spatters of warped imagery usually found in doodles on high-school algebra notebooks. But while The White Stripes came across as the rock music that comes from the quiet kids in the back of the classroom, Sleigh Bells are crafting the rock music that comes from the really popular kids that force their parents to supply alcohol for their parties and call other kids pussies for not wanting to try the Ouija board. Jean-jackets and blood-dotted Converses are now the definitive image for this band, and since they have claimed that, now is the time for them to fully claim their sound.
The band has quietly added a second guitarist to their live performances, and it’s time they very loudly added an actual drummer. I can understand the idea that the simplicity of having prerecorded drums adds to their concept of the modern-American dogma “I don’t give a fuck how it’s normally done, I’m doing it my own way.” But right now, as much as I love these guys and their music, their live show still seems like an act. And if they had a drummer, they would be an insanely huge band. It seems like such the right and natural move for them, and I’m sure there’s a solid list of drummers out there who would love to be in this band. Perhaps they feel that such a big alteration would then cast a lack of significance on their earlier work, but whatever the hold-up is, it’s time to flip the script. They’ve got 12 Marshall Cabinets on the stage, I think they could move em to the sides a little and fit a kit in between. Here’s “A/B Machines” from last week’s gig at Terminal 5 – it’s huge, but just imagine how much huger it could be with an actual bass-kick getting attacked behind them.
Oh, and here’s the new video for “Comeback Kid” while we’re at it.
Photo by Chris La Putt courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan.