The New York duo of singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist and noise-monger Derek Miller continue their reign of sonic terror with this follow up to 2010's riotous debut Treats. And it's a marginally more inviting creation with an increased melodicism as opposed to the beautifully distorted beats, raw recklessness and serrated riffs of that first album.
Not that Reign of Terror's opening track, True Shred Guitar, with its screaming crowd as a back-drop and caustic trebly guitar, is any indication of Sleigh Bells going in a more friendly direction. Because it's just as deliciously ear-splitting as anything off Treats. But then there are moments of dream pop perfection like on Road To Hell, which has a jagged, Killing Joke-like guitar chug that gives it some bite, and first single Comeback Kid is noise pop at its finest with a hammering pitter patter beat, relentlessly obnoxious guitar, and zany and catchy quirks sprinkled throughout.
The only slight hitch is You Lost Me which comes across a little like they are trying too hard to play nice, even when it starts agitating towards the end with Miller firing off some of his trademark guitar shots.
Sleigh Bells are at their most potent when they mix up the brash and berserk with more seductive and sexy sounds. Crush has Krauss cooing and then shouting double-dutch style over the top of slamming, graunching chords and playful keyboards all at the same time; on End of the Line they sound more than ever like a meeting of indie shoegaze bands Lush and Slowdive (only more energetic); and best of all is Demons where they come on like Owner Of A Lonely Heart by 70s prog rockers Yes-meets-obscure electronic industrialists Wiseblood. Special mention also has to go to Never Say Die which is all consuming and claustrophobic in a whimsical Cocteau Twins kind of way.
This is noise music you can dance to, and occasionally have a lie down to. And in its own calamitous and chaotic way it's also charming and pure pop music.
Verdict: Noise pop for your head and feet, man.