Brooklyn noise pop duo Sleigh Bells' new album, "Bitter Rivals," is an unfortunate thing. Perhaps singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Miller overthought the scope of their art.
In an effort to be heavy and edgy, Sleigh Bells have slathered too much production bass and ham-fisted fuzz over their own valuable talents. This is smarty-pants angst drifting in a sea of cliche lyrics and simplistic song structure.
The title track is a mess of indecisive pace and "Minnie," for its aggressive assault, is tempered by a refrain that finds Krauss singing in a small child's voice. Had the album, the group's third, channeled the zeitgeist of guitar played by Miller on "Tiger Kit," easily the best track, Sleigh Bells would have been much better off.
Sleigh Bells sounded more pure on last year's "Reign of Terror." Their power felt less contrived on tracks from that album such as "Crush" and "Comeback Kid." But that was then and this is now, and "Bitter Rivals" is much less than their best.