Sleigh Bells

Thrash Pop, break-beat; call it what you want, but Sleigh Bells essentially make unapologetic noise. Like past ventures, ‘Bitter Rivals’ takes the archetypal concept of pop and blends it with rock to cartoonish effect.

While their incongruous cacophony remains intact, the duo edge closer to accessibility, ever so slightly eschewing their traditional heaviness for a more FM sensibility,

the title track and opener fusing overzealous vocals with thrashing,

prevalent guitar riffs that prove to be an overbearing, recurring theme. The album’s strengths are within its aptitude for melody – palpable on tracks like ‘Sugarcane’ and ‘Young Legends’ – and the more ‘reserved’ moments,

like the mellow but petulant ‘To Hell With You’.

Thing is, it’s sometimes difficult to get past their sonic aberration without mistaking it for parody. Sleigh Bells will need a new trick next time.

though rarely losing the observational edge that seems to undercut most of ‘Sick Octave’,

the Leicestershire trio that refuse to quit have produced a record of small things; models of Obi-Wan Kenobi, girls called Maureen and pennies.

Specificity seems to be all important

and whilst this makes for deliciously witty music (see ‘Marble Maze’), it can be alienating at times in its pure disregard for any sort of universality.

There are tracks such as ‘We Could Be Blood’ and ‘Maureen’ that occupy wholly earnest and wholly ironic spaces respectively, Unlike his group endeavours it’s lighter,

more overtly danceable and tingling with steel drums, classical guitar, and stuttering wood block percussion that owes a debt to Phoenix, via the Kings of Convenience, via Ariel Pink’s ghostly tape deck aesthetic

c. The monosyllabic track titles (‘Honest’, ‘Thin’, ‘Forever’) hark at a darker mood but the overall sonic effect is sunny – if a little on one level.

If you’re resisting the oncoming season of big jumpers and hotpot

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