The second Sleigh Bells album, Reign Of Terror, opens with Alexis Krauss screaming at some crowd noise as the guitar begins. It's an abrasive, full on and exciting opening, as was anticipated by fans of the band. The groups first album was one of the best noise-pop albums of recent years. Unafraid to be stupidly loud, unashamedly chaotic and one of the most full on musical experiences available. From this excellent opening the rest of Reign Of Terror would be expected to continue in kind.

This is not entirely the case; while Alexis is occasionally as aggressive and loud as ever and the guitars still occasionally deafen, the group have softened their sound somewhat. This is probably due to Alexis's increased involvement in the song writing process (Derek Miller had written the majority of Treats before she had even joined the project). The result is a increased usage of shoe-gazing elements and melody rather than the complete reliance of crushing noise found on the first album. Tracks like 'Crush', 'End of the Line' and 'Comeback Kid' have a real tender element to them. Additionally while Sleigh Bells always were a 'poppy' act, they've shifted further towards that end of the spectrum. In part this is a good thing; the band have managed to create a work that feels like all of the peppy but awkwardly different excitement of your teenage years condensed.

It would still be impossible to call Sleigh Bells a true pop act, they sound too unique to ever really garner huge mainstream attention, but it's easy to imagine album highlight 'Comeback Kid' becoming a anthem for a moderately alternative youth. For all their sugary sweetness the songs do still have a real edge to them but they have lost some of the magic that they brought with their first album. The guitars feel weaker, relying on more complex melodies than the power chords of Treats and the increased use of a powerful drum machine isn't quite enough to make up the difference. Alexis relies less on the shouting that filled the first album and sings more. She's still a great front woman and demonstrates her full range on this album. She can both strike a frenzied punky excitement into her listeners, as well as producing remarkably tender songs.

As such, Reign Of Terror loses some of the immediacy that Treats has. This is a more subtle album, comparatively speaking, as that isn't a word that could ever be used to describe Sleigh Bells. It's difficult to comment on the longevity of a album this short into it's life, but Reign Of Terror feels as if it could stay with its listeners for a while. The move away from the slightly gimmicky trick of lowering the dynamic range of the music to make it seem louder has forced the duo to create songs that feel more complex and interesting. The shoe-gazing elements are occasionally genuinely pretty and the lyrics are written well, adding to the overall feeling of the record.

It does have to be said that the group are still unmistakably Sleigh Bells. This is still an overwhelming album, an album that is very much in your face and proud of whatever sound it's chucking at you at any one time. This is still a album that refuses to be ignored and demands to be played extremely loud. It's awash with pure teenage joy and makes you feel instantly younger just by listening to it. The occasional weaker song prevents this, like Treats, from becoming a classic album but it will be enjoyed by anybody from the first listen.