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Flock by Bell X1

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Reviewed on 20th February 2006.



By Bell X1

Considering Bell X1's criminally under-rated record "Music In Mouth" passed under most people's radar a couple of years back, I was more than excited at the prospect of hearing their new offering "Flock".

By the time the first track "Reacharound" had finished I was instantly praising the God of emotional and credible indie, such a good opener I had not heard for a long time. Unfortunately, the rest of the record leaves a rather bitter taste in your mouth. There're are obvious nods to the current crop of non-offensive rock, specifically Snow Patrol, Hard-Fi and even post-amnesiac Radiohead, but the trouble is, the great tracks are annoyingly outnumbered by bland pop filler. Sure, it sounds lovely, with a lush soundscape throwing all manner of twinkly brilliance at our ears, but the neat production doesn't successfully hide the record's mediocrity.

Don't get me wrong, alongside the opener, "Rocky Took a Lover" is a gorgeous feel-good summer anthem in the making and "Just Like Mr Benn's" beauty and subtlety really touched me, easily the best song on the record. Thing is, we've heard this record before. It came out in various formations over the last five years, in the shape of all the last great commercial indie albums, and Bell X1 don't bring any new cards to the table.

Did your Mum ever say that "she liked that Killers song"? She'll love this, but its glossy inoffensiveness won't impress most modern record buyers.



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On 24th February 2006 at 00:51 Anonymous 2832 wrote...

Indeed, I think 'twas just short of criminal that 'Music In Mouth' lacked recognition.

I didn't reckon a GREAT deal to Bell x1 until I saw them live a couple of months back...probably one of the most alive bands I've seen play. Maybe they were just having a really good night, but my friend who'd seen them a whole bunch of times before said that nope, they'd ALWAYS felt that vital and that seething...definitely a band to see in the flesh, somewhere stupidly hot and cramped. The frontman (I forget his name) just writhes music, it's incredible to watch him...

I'm really interested in hearing this album, though I'm a little bit dubious now, from what you've said! Can't imagine them sounding like either Hard-Fi or The Killers that much, but who knows? I'm intrigued to know where those ideas have come from so that's cool, you've whetted my appetite for the record...


On 20th March 2006 at 12:57 Anonymous 5558 wrote...

This is taken from the sunday times.... http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2101-2086929,00.html

Pop CD of the Week: Bell X1: Flock
Dan Cairns
Island CID8161

Ireland's second-biggest band, Bell X1 bring to album-releasing some baggage they must wish they weren't encumbered with and that the beauty of their music should, by now, have freed them from. As Juniper, their line-up included a certain Damien Rice; renamed, they responded with two wonderful pop-rock records of their own. The new one will very likely win plaudits and engender the talk of a breakthrough. But what Flock points up most powerfully is how rare it is to hear a record that genuinely works as a whole, rather than as something to cherry-pick from. Paul Noonan's grainy voice and confiding lyrics give the 11 songs a narrative feel; and it quickly becomes difficult to savour Bad Skin Day (sculpted from the same soft rock as Boys of Summer) without also taking in Rocky Took a Lover, the tender blues of Natalie or the epic, thinking-man's-Coldplay closer, Lamposts. Bored with the baggage and busting for the breakthrough? Then buy this. Five stars

Flame at www.napster.co.uk



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