Sleigh Bells have shared a new song along with a short message: “We are finishing up our record, didn’t want to wait.” Fair enough. And what do you know? “Champions of Unrestricted Beauty” pushes the Brooklyn duo into a full-on pop direction, free of chain-linked guitars and fierce fuzzboxes. Surprising to some fans maybe, but only if you haven’t heard of singer Alexis Krauss’ previous, long-buried work with the pop group Ruby Blue or the Rhythm Nation roots of Sleigh Bells’ last record Bitter Rivals.
“I was 12, turning 13, when I joined [Ruby Blue],” Krauss told Blackbook a while back. “It was amazing. I was incredibly excited. But then you grow up a bit and you start to feel incredibly disconnected from the music you’re being told to make. It’s not the same music that I was coming home and listening to. I felt like I was acting. I was playing a character in a teen band that had no connection to me. We were put together. How genuine can that be?”
Considering how strong Krauss’ singing voice is and the simple fact that this single is self-released, this may be about as genuine as Sleigh Bells gets—a natural, albeit bound-to-be-divisive evolution: