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’, all the while singer Alexis Krauss’ cloying pop clichés accompanying Derek Miller’s ferociously loud guitar. It’s brash, subversive and unashamedly crass to unfamiliar ears, and although that’s all part of their appeal, it’s sometimes difficult to get past their sonic aberration without mistaking it for parody. Sleigh Bells will need a new trick next time.


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