Phantogram have always been okay. For me, they’re peak was with their Big Boi collaboration record as Big Grams, where Big Boi was able to fill in the gaps often laid bare by the electronic duo. The best part of Phantogram however, was their penchant for hooks. While I might not have always enjoyed the song due to instrumentation or subject matter, the choruses were always very well written. Three is a very heavy record, following the passing of band member Sarah Barthel’s sister. There are a few very disjointed sections, but overall it’s not that bad. Three isn’t my cup of tea, but it’s decent Phantogram.
Sleigh Bells, on the other hand, is a pretty rough duo.
Making record after record, despite being perfectionists, their newest album Jessica Rabbit, their fourth over the course of six years, is all over the place. As “noise-pop” as “noise-pop” can be, Sleigh Bells are just so overly intense, it’s like a punch of pop to the face. It was something I enjoyed back in 2010 on their debut Treats, but after repeated hits to the face, it’s a lot to take. Lead single “I Can Only Stare” is pretty anthemically cool, and the clear standout, but the surrounding record is just unrelenting, pop cacophony. As much as they might hate to hear it, I just want to hear “Rill Rill” over and over again instead.