Since their debut, Sleigh Bells has been known for their distorted, guitar-heavy, riot-pop. If you’ve hit play on their latest single, you probably didn’t need me to tell you that.
“Rule Number One” is Sleigh Bells doing what they do best. Derek Miller’s signature thrashing riffs and Alexis Krauss’ RnB-inspired melodies are front and center on this 4-minute anthem.
While it is reminiscent of their previous work (or a combination of sounds from all 3 of their previous albums), Rule Number One’s song structure is more jarring than any other Sleigh Bells track. Just when you think you’ve wrapped your head around the jolt of menacing energy of the first half of the track, it shifts into balladic controlled chaos. The experimental nature of this structure may feel over the top at some points, but Sleigh Bells redeems themselves in the sheer epicness of the second half of this song.
The vocals on this track are another way Sleigh Bells demonstrates growth on “Rule Number One.” As Krauss said it herself in an interview with Zane Lowe, “the vocal matches the track.” Krauss successfully meets Miller’s overdriven production style with equally piercing songwriting, a feat that is likely the result of their near 8-year partnership as a duo.
Last December, Sleigh Bells released the single “Champions of Unrestricted Beauty.” The single maintained the loudness of the Sleigh Bells sound but had a striking absence of guitars, which led me to speculate that they might be ditching their signature shreds on their next album. “Rule Number One” clearly puts my speculation to rest.