Sleigh Bells - Bitter Rivals

Whatever it is that’s made ‘Bitter Rivals’ take this form, it’s worked.

Label: Lucky Number

Rating:

Sleigh Bells are not just back with a bang. They’re back with a bang, kick, stamp, scream, punch and a KA-POW.

There’s no doubt that Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller are at their blistering best when everything’s turned up to eleven. And fear not – just seconds in to opener, lead single and title track ‘Bitter Rivals’, it’s all there: the slamming synths, overdriven guitars and Alexis’ unrivalled scream.

It’s no surprise, then, that the finest moments on the record are when both are going full pelt – ‘Sing Like A Wire’, with its Michael Jackson-referencing synths, ‘Minnie”s chorus and vocal taunts, the use of what appears to be a cow (!) next to a mean-sounding acoustic riff (!!).

Krauss is on delicious vocal form throughout, sounding both as fierce and feminine as ever, matching cutting lyrics with sounds so girlish they almost risk being cutesy. They’re not – thankfully – and even on the record’s quieter moments – ‘To Hell With You’ and the hip-hop-esque ‘You Don’t Get Me Twice’, there’s still enough venom to keep the badassery going.

Derek’s new-found healthy lifestyle, Alexis’ increased role in the duo – the pair’s decision to take up boxing. Whatever it is that’s made ‘Bitter Rivals’ take this form, it’s worked.