Sleigh Bells - Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 22 Jan 2011 (3 stars)

Pounding bass and uncompromising riffs underpin Brooklyn duo's set

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Sleigh Bells - Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 22 Jan 2011

If you have heard Treats, Sleigh Bell’s 2010 debut LP, you will be able to easily imagine what the Brooklyn duo are like live. Eardrum poundingly loud bass and uncompromising riffs underpin the set which is, like their album, anthemic but short.

Opening with lead single ‘Tell ‘Em’, Derek E Miller (guitar, beats, production) fires through a set of unrelenting tempo, letting up only during the softer, surf-tinged ‘Rill Rill’. Initially struggling against the wall of noise, Alexis Krauss’ vocals alternate between cutesy croons and an almost hip-hop Kathleen Hanna (especially during the cheerleader-style chant of ‘Infinity Guitars’), sass-laden and terribly cool. Onstage banter is minimal. Miller’s guitar hooks hint at his hardcore roots, having formerly played in Poison The Well, layered simply but effectively over the pre-programmed loops.

Whilst the cynical might question whether the two-piece have become the à la mode darlings of Pitchfork and The Guardian in part because of their effortless, packed with ‘tude and seemingly Skins-friendly image, a sold-out Stereo would argue that there is substance beneath their style – and bassy it is too.

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