A lot has changed since 2005. With the Celtic Tiger still roaring and house prices soaring, Kildare natives Bell X1 released Flock, a radio-friendly gem of an album which catapulted the band into the mainstream’s psyche. Having already featured on hit TV show The OC, all signs pointed to a career based on the insatiable pop-power of ‘Flame’ or the lush emotion-laden balladry of ‘Eve, The Apple Of My Eye’. Fast forward to 2011 however, and we find an altogether different prospect before our eyes. Rather than milk their past success, the band have pushed themselves in bold, new directions, veering off their expected path and reaping interesting results in the process.
New release ‘Bloodless Coup’ is their most far flung yet – detailed, mature and atmospheric by the truck load. Its ingenuity is encapsulated by stirring opener ‘Hey Anna Lena’, where minimal, morphed beats are placed either side of a surging swell of a chorus, sounding like an embrace from a long lost friend. That’s not to say they’ve shunned their pop responsibilities for good though – ‘Sugar High’ is an instant hit of electro-funk goodness, while lead surging single ‘Velcro’ is an undisputed anthem at its core. As ever, Paul Noonan’s warm vocals dominate proceedings and the crystal clear acoustics of Vicar Street will serve as the perfect venue to showcase their commendable progression. Far from TV soundtracks it may be but having taken the road-less-travelled, Noonan and Co. should be applauded for keeping the flame lit in their own peculiar way.
Bell X1 play Vicar Street Tonight and Tomorrow (Sold Out). Tickets are priced €37.80. Check out the rather gorgeous ‘Hey Anna Lena’ below.