Live review: Sleigh Bells, Honeyblood at Oran Mor, 21/8/12

The buzz surround Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells has dulled some what since they first were launched into onto airwaves back in 2009, despite this they’ve kept up their high intensity noise pop at a consistent quality, albeit with a few tweaks, on second album Reign of Terror.

They return to Glasgow after initial February date was cancelled due to illness of energetic vocalist and live focal point Alexis Krauss, so this is their third visit and a step up in terms of capacity from Stereo 19 months ago.

First up though is Glasgow all girl crunch pop duo Honeyblood, who appear to be late additions to the bill, announced supports Holograms are nowhere to be seen.

Still, in terms of stature the girls aren’t far out of place, the duo have found a plaudits regularly in their short lifespan as their lush sound draws from various lo-fi and alt-rock sources but it’s difficult to pin down a specific influence for their whole sound from this set alone.

Tonight the sound lets them down, the vocals, which tend to be set beautifully in the background on their recordings, are lost behind a fuzzy guitar that although is not uninspired seems to lose something in the still filling out venue.

By the time Sleigh Bells come onstage, 20 minutes late may I add, the venue is full, but not quite the jammed in full witnessed at Oran Mor in the past, whether the show has failed to sell out or the venue has became more aware of its capacity I don’t know.

The duo, joined by touring guitarist Jason Boyer, open with the powerful ‘Demons’, a nod towards heavy metal influences and a standout from the guitar heavy Reign of Terror.

Krauss is surely the centrepiece to this band if guitarist Derek E. Miller was the initial creative force, Krauss has joined in this process on the latest album, as a result the album feels more polished and many tracks hold a more familiar pop formula without giving up that in your face joy that Sleigh Bells created with debut Treats.

It’s hard to keep focus on Krauss as she bolts around the stage blurting out the words to early single ‘Crown on the Ground’, not merely cos she is a constant ball of energy but also because the lights are so bright, too bright in fact, leaving many of the audience shielding their eyes for the early portion of the set.

The rest of the set flows through in similar fashion as they blast through tracks from both albums in equal balance including latest single ‘Comeback Kid’ and classic ‘Tell ‘Em’.

Miller and Boyer disappear behind the wall of light from time to time as electronic duties are performed, leaving us in the more than capable hands of Krauss performing tracks from the more electronic debut.

‘Rill Rill’ becomes a highlight of the set as the band’s sing along track sees Krauss passed around the room while she lets out the catchy lyrics in her even adaptable vocal style.

There’s something gracious in the presence of Sleigh Bells, behind their hip appearance there’s more than a hint of joy in what they do.

As they close with Treats tracks ‘Riot Rhythm’ and ‘A/B Machines’, with Krauss showing no signs of letting up, I’m sure most will leave exhausted from dancing and satisfied with what they’ve seen.


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