Sleigh Bells (Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss) are excited to release their first new album in three years, Jessica Rabbit. The album was produced by the band and mixed by Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator), and is out today via Sinderlyn / Remote Control Records.
When Sleigh Bells first emerged in 2009, they combined sonic elements that had never co-existed before, pushing sounds to and past their limits to create an entirely new left-field pop music. Their widely-acclaimed debut album Treats, and its metal-leaning follow-up Reign of Terror, established them as innovators in the pop landscape, crossing the abrasiveness of punk with the most raucous dance party ever attended. But by the time they released 2013’s celebrated Bitter Rivals — their third album in almost as many years — Miller and Krauss began to feel hemmed in by their own aesthetic.
And so began the process of writing and recording the mercurial Jessica Rabbit, one that began, stopped, and started over again many times throughout the last three years. They tried on new instrumentation, swapping guitars for a synth pad; they tried on different time signatures, letting ever-stranger drum machine sounds punctuate their beats; and for the first time ever they brought someone outside of the band into the creative process, working with Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Fiona Apple) to shape five of the band’s favorite tracks on the album.
The result is an album that does not sound like anything Sleigh Bells has ever done — or anyone has ever done, for that matter. It is the sonic equivalent of firing synapses, with melodies zig-zagging in different directions in a beautiful and ever-modulating controlled chaos. It is playful but darkly so; flirtatious but caustic; ebullient but downright sinister.
Singer Alexis Krauss has moved from the baby coo of the band’s earlier material into full powerhouse mode, singing with a visceral urgency that was absent from previous releases. Tempo changes stretch the songs in different directions, like an attention span gone haywire. It is a record that is wholly unique in sound and purpose, an unabashed and unafraid statement from a band that has made offending rote conceptions of pop music their signature and greatest strength.