Monday, April 04, 2011

Bell X1 and the shadow of U2

When you are an Irish band at some point you are going to have to answer the u2 question. Just how much did the four lads from Ireland influence your own work? It's not even a question of if they are an influence, but to what degree. Such is the case with BELL X1 (as it was with SNOW PATROL before them). Even though this three piece is releasing it's fifth album, "Bloodless Coup", most people outside of the Ireland haven't been exposed. The first blush with this new album isn't going to quell the U2 issue much.

The opener, "Hey Anna Lena", takes the now popular drum loop/blip approach that is more RADIOHEAD than U2 even mimicking Thom Yorke's falsetto. But it's with the lead single "Velcro" that the band shift into stadium rocker mode. Awash in synthesizers and bass lines, "Velcro" is an arena pleaser for sure. Singer Paul Noonan's voice bears a striking resemblance to David Byrne especially on the TALKING HEADS-ish "4 Minute Mile". "Sugar High" takes what might be an OMD outtake and updates the sound. Other parts of the record have the band taking a bit funkier outlook on their sound.

It's a risk for sure, but at least the U2 comparison dissipates. Where Snow Patrol has run to the Adult Alternative center with their music, Bell x1 seem to have at least tried to branch out.

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