The pop-rock duo Sleigh Bells has returned to Mom + Pop records for their latest production Texis after producing their previous album on the self made label “Torn Clean.” The album is, in a word, “alright.” In a several paragraph overview? Don’t say you didn’t ask…
There are a handful of standout tracks on Texis, such as the re-listenably melodic track “I’m Not Down,” and the dancey “Locust Laced” though none really stand up to the originality or presence of their debut hit “Infinity Guitars.” The band doesn’t really do anything new or successfully adapt their sound to the current landscape of popular music, it’s more of that edgy enough for adolescents but safe for all ages rock-and-roll with a plastic sheen and a poppy for-radio single or two. One good thing about the band is their surprising and peculiar ability to continually find new ways to produce a sound just vaguely reminiscent of the holidays. It’s a peculiar quality, but it builds character.
There are some good things to be said here though; the second track off of Texis, “An Acre Lost,” makes good use of a choral guitar progression and a catchy vocal melody in the chorus along with slightly less abrupt synth tracks throughout and many of the synth lines on the album are well produced and fresh. Much of the album seems to draw influence from the EDM genres popularized by the record label Mad Decent, such as a more moombahton-esque swing, as opposed to the traditional punk rhythms, on tracks like “Hummingbird Bomb” and “Tennessee,” or an implementation of synths reminiscent of artists like the labels founder, Diplo which is an interesting, but not unheard of, direction for the band and popular music in general.
A major downside, however, is the amount of what feels like “filler” on the album. By the second half it feels like most of the “good songs” have been played, and while there are some interesting musical moments, there is little more than some interesting bops and brazen guitar riffs to keep you listening until the second-last track “True Seekers” which, admittedly, is a pretty-good love song that serves to pull back from the bands more exciting, easily consumable, pop-punk qualities and leans into more of an emotional “ballad.” Of course, the final song “Hummingbird Bomb” doesn’t exactly complement that speed or anything, but it’s there. All-in-all the duo has maintained and attempted to capitalize on their patented style, but they may remain a one hit wonder for a few more years.
In case you’d forgotten the 2010’s were a thing, it feels like Sleigh Bells is back in scarfs, leather jackets, and jolly knickers to stylishly remind us that the decade had really occurred—or something. Where did this duo come from? It feels like they’re from Mars, but like—”over the top eighties-action-movie” Mars (on Christmas?) Sure, they aren’t producing the year’s best or most original album but what’s not to love, really?