If you only have five seconds to spare, listen to the first five seconds of this song. Your ears will take a much needed pummeling by a Tommy gun burst of electronic percussion followed by a wailing, sky-high, space-age-Prince guitar anthem. Good morning, adrenaline. Now crank this up; it only gets better.
The beat fills out and the guitar doubles (hope you have two speakers) ultimately wiping out in an undulating wall of distortion a la My Bloody Valentine. Now, if there’s a betraying pattern in my MP3 Mondays, it’s that I’m way down with female vocals. You can imagine my joy at where “Tell ‘Em” is about to go.
Enter Alexis Krauss with the following pep: “All the kids these day/do you really want to be that way?” “You could do your best today/you could do your best today.” Could be the cheerleader cover art and the talk of the boys and the girls “these days,” but I get an image of an older sister throwing out some serious high-school wisdom. Or something like that.
My one gripe about “Tell ‘Em” is that after the verse it denies us the would-be chorus at a point where we would have seriously lost our shit. But that’s not really a criticism – it isn’t Sleigh Bells’ job to cater to the dance parties that I have in my socks when I’m alone in my apartment. The beat sets a relentless pace as the guitar and vocals divide and double in a noise-pop mitosis. That’s all this song needs.
“Tell ‘Em” hails from Sleigh Bells’ debut LP, Treats, out May 11 on M.I.A.’s label. For now, you can listen to it here on hype machine or download it on Sleigh Bells’ website!