Reign of Terror
There are some interesting contradictions at play on Sleigh Bells' second album. For example, when Alexis Krauss purrs her way through Road To Hell, the pointed language she uses is disconnected from the delicate way in which she delivers it. The manner in which Krauss' vocal chords remain calm in a crisis is a key characteristic of Sleigh Bells' canon. She sings serenely even during the most intense periods of background bluster created by co-conspirator Derek Miller. The way this Brooklyn duo whisks together loud and quiet elements is compelling. The best moment on Reign Of Terror comes during a lull halfway through Comeback Kid, where Krauss sweetly intones that "You're gone away but you'll come back someday". The words are layered over a sugary-sweet melody which sounds like it could soundtrack the opening titles to a very gentle sitcom. The momentary solitude immediately gives way to synthesised, super-powered beats and shredding guitars that wouldn't sound out of place. Throughout the record there's a constant craving for loudness, yet all the while the end result is pure pop that – as in the case of a YouTube video of small kids rocking out in the back of their parents' car to breakout single Infinity Guitars – clearly has mass market appeal far beyond the hipster that forms part of the duo's tiresome marketing campaign.
On The Shelf
Our pick of the NOT-TO-BE-MISSED books
by Kristin Hannah
In her bestselling novels Kristin Hannah has plumbed the depths of friendship, the loyalty of sisters, and the secrets mothers keep. Now, in her most emotionally powerful story yet, she explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war. All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost...
Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life, children, careers, bills, chores – even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm's way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonises Jolene to leave her family, but as a solider she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own – for everything that matters to his family.
by Elmore Leonard
With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that's change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you – especially when it's sold off piece by piece. So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it's up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them. But Raylan isn't your average marshal; he's the fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill. But by the time Raylan finds out who's making the cuts, he's lying with Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys. The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: Layla, the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand a piece; Carol Conlan, a hard-charging coal-mine executive who can shoot point-blank, a man who's standing in her way; and Jackie Nevada, a beautiful college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal.
It's 2069 and you're an 'agent' for Eurocorp, one of the mega-corporations and you'll spend much of the game as a largely faceless guy that has a prototype version of a chip in your head. This chip is what gives you your abilities, like a tactical overlay that lets you track any enemy you've spotted even when they're behind a wall by using an alternate vision mode. From there, you delve into acts of industrial espionage, which in the future means preventing Eurocorp employees from defecting to other corporations and protecting company secrets by any means necessary. The way the game handles its weapons is more than just a running animation. When you approach doors, walls, and other surfaces, the agent automatically moves the gun appropriately, lowering it when you're pressed up against a door, angling it around corners, and so on. Between the gunplay and the abilities, you're given a good number of options when it comes to dealing with a combat situation. The smart players will rise to the challenge and feel like they've been appropriately rewarded for their prowess. But it's a somewhat disappointing reward for an otherwise exciting adventure that puts a terrific and fun spin on first-person shooting.
MAG's Trilogy Pick of the Week
In Brooklyn, amid drug deals, violence, casual racism, poverty, housing projects, and corrupt cops, there are three officers: Tango, who is working undercover to earn a promotion to a desk job, but is then told to bring in an ex-con who saved his life; Sal, who will commit murder to get cash to buy a house big enough for his family; and, Eddie, the precinct's oldest cop, a week before retirement, is assigned to mentor a rookie. Can this end well for any of the three?
How To Train Your Dragon
A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.
In New York City, a case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple's attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening into something more thrilling and dangerous.
Friendships are tested and secrets come to the surface when terminally single Rachel falls for Dex, her best friend Darcy's fiancé.
Letters To Juliet
An American girl on vacation in Italy finds an unanswered "letter to Juliet" – one of thousands of missives left at the fictional lover's Verona courtyard, which are typically answered by the "secretaries of Juliet" – and she goes on a quest to find the lovers referenced in the letter.
Top Five Releases This Week
Alan Wake's American Nightmare (Xbox 360)
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (3DS)
Out There Somewhere (PC)
Wrestle Fest Premium (iOS)
The All American Rejects – 'Beekeeper's Daughter'
Monica & Brandy – 'It All Belongs To Me'
Madonna – 'Give Me All Your Luvin'
Nicki Minaj – 'Starships'
Knife Party – 'Internet Friends'
Coming Apart by Charles Murray
Left for Dead by J. A. Jance
The Duchess Diaries by Jillian Hunter
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Raylan by Elmore Leonard