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SLEIGH BELLS - HYPER DARK
[6.62]


Hyper loud!

Ramzi Awn: Pure taste: Sleigh Bells does not know the meaning of poor composition. Aggregating the likes of Kim Deal, Veruca Salt, Shirley Manson and Kristin Hersh all in one with an extra pinch of everything, the band sticks with its signature sound and slays.
[10]

Katie Gill: This is gonna be on every damn ‘dark’ 8tracks fanmix out there, isn’t it, hanging out right next to “Control” by Halsey and Lorde’s cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” Still, I’d prefer this one to both of those. Krauss’s lilting, slightly wilty vocals really don’t do anything for me–that “uh-oh” has the potential to be borderline cutesy. It’s the pounding guitar chords, beautiful lo-fi opening, and expert use of silence that what makes this superb.
[7]

Juana Giaimo: I used to think that the lack of direction in Sleigh Bells was due to their noisy mess, but “Hyper Dark” proves otherwise. Even when the vocals are this time in the front, they are in a dark limbo that isn’t too interesting.
[5]

Katherine St Asaph: A Sleigh Bells song called “Hyper Dark” might go one of two ways: the gorgeous silence of Sofia Hardig circa The Need to Destroy or the blown-out romanticism of The Birthday Massacre. Except this goes a third way, a more conventional way; it’s kind of like Portishead x beautifulgarbage x a cave level, with a Lumidee interpolation – derivative, but my kind of derivative.
[7]

Alfred Soto: So long as they remain fast and cheap Sleigh Bells will get a listen at the Soto house in the same way that I thought, “This will do” when Paula Abdul played regent to Janet Jackson in 1989 before Rhythm Nation dropped. But I don’t know what musical movement Sleigh Bells are anticipating – maybe another regression to the pseudo-glory of the Jesus & Mary Chain. While I can appreciate the ingenuity with which Derek Miller makes the drum machine hiss and the echo signify, Alexis Krauss sings as if she wants to be meaningful. Meaning isn’t what I want from this pair.
[4]

Brad Shoup: The background is the only thing I can focus on. The way the classic SB sound – those rap-rock demo riffs – goes down fighting against the hyperdark, and the assault-weapon fills. It’s a parody of progress, and it’s more interesting for it.
[6]

Peter Ryan: I think Sleigh Bells are fun when they Bludgeon Harder or Go Faster or at least invite Tink. This is, by their standards, anemic and pretty and crawling, which I think is supposed to get points for playing against type while holding onto a dumb riff for good measure. Changing up the formula is obligatory more than half a decade in, and as an album track this would probably be just fine. But as a single this will do zero to up my investment from 'aggressively casual’. Which is, at more than half a decade in, definitely not their priority. But I want to care.
[5]

Edward Okulicz: As much as I loved trip-hop, it was the second wave of bastardry that melded it with dubious female-fronted rock that’s really due for the reappraisal. It could also do with a revival based on this, though not enough of it was as good as “Hyper Dark.” From the ersatz 90s darkness and attitude of the title on down, this is completely meaningless. It’s also a total and cynical collage. But it’s also comprised entirely of sounds that are brilliant: the guitars sound like scratches, but also like the muted sounds of rounds of ammunition being spent. If it had been the real 90s, Alexis Krauss would have been mixed under the whole thing like Toni Halliday, and it would still have sounded awesome but I’m still glad to hear her in pride of place.
[9]

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