Ever wonder what it would sound like if The Naked and Famous collaborated with Nine Inch Nails? Look no further. Sleigh Bells' eclectic fourth album Jessica Rabbit is just that.
Sleigh Bells is a band that doesn't really find itself bound to a genre, as it's caught in between so many. Their music is best described as a rogue noise pop, drawing from industrial and electronica, too. Jessica Rabbit is an album that they finished again and again, never quite being satisfied with the product. The dynamic record draws from trying to fill an empty space with fresh hope, drawing from each band members' different approach to writing.
Right from the start, you'll realize this album is something unique. Disjointed, noisy guitar punches lead 'It's Just Us Now' to its pounding start, massive drums filling the song with confidence as Alexis Krauss' vocals soar high above the instrumental. It's an empowering song to say the least - it'll get your blood flowing for sure. The album's lifeline is its high energy that resonates throughout the record's playtime. The groovy riffs of 'I Can't Stand You Anymore' bring the anthemic vibe to the song, with CHVRCHES-esque synth arpeggios and swells sound in the background. The energy doesn't fade whatsoever - near the end of the record, 'Baptism By Fire' is just as energetic as the beginning of the record was.
It's easy to see the album as an uplifting, optimistic one. That would take away from it's diversity, however; it is true that there is a lot of energy on the record, but there's some darkness sprinkled into its tracklist. The short track 'Loyal For' almost sounds like a Chelsea Wolfe track, the deep synths and dark strings creating an abysmal feeling as Krauss' vocals resonate high above them. It's tense drama makes it almost feel violent. 'Unlimited Dark Paths' also gets off to a dark start, but it's sparkling synths soften up the evilness the track has at its core.
Those are the two spectrums, and of course the two also meet at a middle ground. The single 'I Can Only Stare' may seem positive from an outside view, but looking into its blaring synths and spidery synths, it feels more like a search for hope rather than dwelling in a place where positivity already exists. Krauss' vocals are upbeat, but the instrumental remains dark. 'Throw Me Down The Stairs' also sees more darkness, but also has a more upfront rock vibe to it. It's thick and almost threatening.
If this album is lacking anything, it's more upfrontness. I can't help feel that by the end of the record, it could be using a bit more punchiness to it. It's atmospheric and sweet, but it's not as powerful as the beginning of the record. There was conviction and a strive, but at the end of the record it doesn't quite feel the same. It's not bad, and the energy is still there, but it could just use a bit more to really elevate it.
Sleigh Bells are continuing their crazy journey into left-field power pop with flying colors. Jessica Rabbit is energetic and shows that the band really put their soul into this record before being ready to release it. It's not perfect and may lose some of its conviction by the end, but its energy remains constant and allows the album to feel fresh from start to end, and you can't go wrong with that.
Favorite Tracks: It's Just Us Now, Lighting Turns Sawdust Gold, I Can Only Stare
Least Favorite Track: As If
Rating: 80 / 100