Sandwiched in between numerous SXSW parties and what I'm sure will be a sweet US tour with Major Lazer, Brooklyn's Sleigh Bells have come over to London for a few shows - the first of which was on Tuesday night at the ever brilliant White Heat.
New Yoga - a little known US soloist with massive balls. Not necessarily in the literal sense, but you have to admire the bravery of a guy who takes to the stage by himself armed with nothing but a guitar, a keyboard, and a bunch of pedals. To be honest it didn't sound like much - I got the feeling he had taken on a little too much - but the addition of a couple more members may allow for more time to be spent on songwriting and structure, allowing for his talent to come more to the fore.
London duo Vision of Trees are the evening's hometown heroes, and by the time they take to the stage the room has almost packed out. They don't disappoint either, immediately making an impact with a big, polished sound - especially given that it's just the two of them. Sara and Joni work really well in tandem - the former being the focal point of the group as a sweet sounding, sexy vocalist while Joni takes on the role of multi-instrumental maetro - brilliantly utilising dreamy synth, shuddering bass and smacking everything around him with a set of drum sticks. The US is currently beyond doubt the epicenter of dream-pop, but in Vision Of Trees the UK potentially has a real contender.
In Eddie Murphy's Delerious, he says R&B/Soul singer Teddy Pendergress used to "walk on stage and scare the bitches into liking him", and as Sleigh Bells take the stage it appears their tactics aren't too far away from old Teddy's. Their mix of thumping electronic beats and heavily distorted punk guitar lines are as unique as they are heavy, and vocalist Alexis is so confident to almost come across as aggressive. She drops down into the crowd for 3rd and standout track A/B Machines, and clearly isn't afraid to get a little sweaty herself. It's just as well the duo have such a strong presence as technical difficulties heavily mar their set, but their raw energy carries them impressively through these issues. As is often the case with such a unique act the songs are a little hit and miss, but when they hit they do so hard, and tracks such as Crown On The Ground and the aforementioned A/B Machines suggest that there may be a future ahead of them that lives up to all their current hype.
Sleigh Bells - A/B Machines
Vision of Trees - Wonders