Music May 20, 2010 By Benjamin Gold

     Whenever a band is subjected to the amount of hype Sleigh Bells is currently experiencing, it’s only natural to think about it in a larger context. But, to think of Sleigh Bells in a more serious way (its place in music, your own relationship to that music and its generation) is to completely lose the point. Theirs is not necessarily important or even intellectual music; it’s empty calories of pop enjoyment. Just like the most satisfying junk food, Sleigh Bells delight the unrefined palate of mindless spectacle, and it’s a mistake to treat them as anything more than that. They’re like the McDonald’s of buzz bands.
     Sleigh Bells are overwhelmingly loud, but the album’s crushing volume feels tacked on, and can be distracting. It’s the first thing you’ll notice and, as your ears ring, the trait that will remain with you the longest. The best examples of this — which I’ll call the Sleigh Bells problem — come early in the album, with “Tell Em” and “Riot Rhythm”. They’re unnuanced sports anthems to be unironically played during a Brooklyn kickball game or covered by a high school marching band.

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