Sleigh Bells released the bulk of their material before I started listening to a new album almost daily, and because it’s hard for me to revisit older material due to my schedule I completely missed Sleigh Bells’s output until this album. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I decided to give this record a shot, but I was very impressed by their long awaited fifth album “Texis”.
The genre blending that Sleigh Bells executes on “Texis” is definitely one of the most unique sounding things I’ve heard this year, with the duo pulling off a blend of electropop and driving rock that I’ve seen other artists attempt but not fully pull off. Usually artists that try to incorporate elements of these genres either lean far into one while watering down the other or just land on a version that doesn’t work, but Sleigh Bells have crafted something that fully encapsulates both without sacrificing the other. The contrast between the dreamy FM synths and Alexis Krauss’s sweet voice with the often heavy and chugging guitars and hard electronic drums shouldn’t work, but it’s both infectiously poppy and a blast of killer rock music. I hear bits of power pop, dance-punk, hardcore, metal, industrial, electropop, hyperpop, and so much more - this record just sounds so different and so far ahead of every artist that is trying to do something similar. Clearly the band has been able to refine their sound over the years and it makes me excited to look back and see the stepping stones that lead to this project.
This album isn’t just style over substance, mind you, because at the core of this album, removing all of the heavy beats and beautiful synths, you still have an album with insanely good pop music. Despite so much of “Texis” referring to and exploring the concept of death (no that’s not a joke, so much of this album makes allusions to death), Sleigh Bells soars with catchy, sugary hooks that stick in your head well after the album is done. This combination of purely good pop songwriting and out there yet fine tuned rock inspired electronic beats makes “Texis” one of the most fun albums of the year, just a purely energetic listen that’ll easily put a smile on your face. My only real complaint with this album is that a couple of songs right in the middle aren’t as well written as the rest of the album and just don’t do enough to stay in your head, but this project is so strong regardless that the few weak tracks don’t make much of a dent in the listening experience.
With a blast of creative energy and a great mix of the heavy and the sugary, Sleigh Bells absolutely nails their irresistibly fun fifth album. Needless to say I’ll need to take a look back in their discography, but from the looks of it I think “Texis” is a fantastic musical statement to begin the next phase and decade of their career.