Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Bigger than the beatles - Bellx1

The next group that should be bigger than the Beatles is Irish band Bell X1 a 3 piece formed from the ashes of Juniper when band member Damien Rice left. They've released 4 lps (and also a live lp). They are very successful in their home land well as getting some exposure in the USA having toured 4 times, appeared numerous times on the David Letterman show and having songs featured on various TV shows. Again another great band that have passed the UK music media by. Their first lp "Neither am I" was only released in Ireland in 2000 and was produced by Nick Seymour the bassist of Crowded House.

2003's "Music In Mouth" was the first one of their lps I bought (based entirely on a good review in Q magazine). I've posted the 2 best tracks from the lp. The first is "Alphabet Soup" , not quite "Deliverence" but there is a bit of dueling banjo/electric guitar going on. The second track was one of the singles from the lp the achingly sad "Eve, the Apple of my Eye"
"But you were paying the ferryman even after Chris said no"
"In the garden the snake was a charmin' and Eve said lets give it a try"
On a separate note the lp has one of the best cover artwork going. On the Cd booklet each of the song titles are featured designed into everyday objects such as cinema tickets, takeaway menus etc.

!993 saw the release of "Flock" which reading some of the amazon reviews and band forums seems to be the fans favourite. It is more consistent than "Music in Mouth" and it is here that you can start to see why in some articles they are described as Ireland's Talking Heads. I've posted 2 tracks "Flame" which was the first single and shot to number 65 in the UK charts and the more atmospheric "Bad skin day". I think these 2 represent the 2 sides to the band

2009 saw the release of "Blue Lights on the Runway" which is so far my lp of the year. The songwriting seems to move to the next level and it benefits from a much sharper production. It is one of those lps that starts with a run of extremely strong songs, it isnt until track 7 that the quality dips a bit. I've posted 3 tracks here. "The Great Defector" which is where the Talking Heads comparison is closest. "Better Band" which starts sounding like Simple Minds "New Gold Dream" and ends with a guitar assault and "Light Catches Your Face", which again shows their mellow side and deals with that conflicted feelings of visiting parents. The lp also has one song where the chorus is "You're just picking your knickers form your arse / like you're playing a one stringed harp" which makes the school boy in me laugh everytime i hear it
"You're trying to talk to me, all grateful and smiles
I'm glued to the TV giving one word replies
It's small and shameful, It's a poor show"

You can buy Bell x1 lps here - If I were to pick one then "Blue Lights on the Runway" is the one
Don't take my word for it visit their website here where you can stream all their lp tracks and make your own mind up

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