As we’ve always been honest with you – our readers – we have to let you know that we had never heard of Irish band Bell X1 until we were asked to review their new record, “ARMS”.
BUT thank goodness that opportunity came up!
Seeing that we know very little about the band from Ireland, we decided to do a little digging whilst their beautiful voices flowed through our speakers and made our ears perk up.
Here’s a little fun fact for you as we were researching the band to find out more about them: Damien Rice used to be in this band. Not to sound like a lovesick fangirl right now but OMG. We love Damien Rice! Who knows why he decided to jump ship, but then again, if he didn’t maybe we wouldn’t have heard the heartbreakingly beautiful songs he likes to write like this and this.
“ARMS” is the band’s seventh album (Where the hell have we been?) and although a few original band members have left, the band now stand as a trio with Paul Noonan (vocals, drums), David Geraghty (guitar, vocals, keys, drums) and Dominic Phillips (bass, vocals).
Answering our earlier question ourselves, having a blog and trying to keep up on the latest music across different genres is a very difficult and challenging task. We’re fine to admit that. So it’s highly likely that we’re gonna miss some great bands and artists that will fly under our radar and that other people have already known about for years.
We’re doing our best, though.
Besides U2, Bell X1 are practically superstars in Ireland, with headlining shows and ongoing airplay. Given that homegrown success, it’s somewhat surprising that they’ve kinda slipped through making that same impression on their international markets like Australia.
But we’re confident that the release of their seventh studio album “ARMS” is about to change all that.
“ARMS is a nine-song collection radiating with shabby grace and soft-focus elegance, but there’s also a bruised, bittersweet, romantic mood throughout. Melancholic and lovelorn in places but also spirited, determined and optimistic..”
^That’s what the PR release reads. #justkeepingitreal
To us, their sound is subtle but it builds as each song follows on from the next. Upon the initial listen of the album in full, it’s apparent that there any many layers and textures to the record. It makes you want to go back and listen to the album over and over to see if you can pick up on the different sounds upon each listen. It’s a great first impression to have on a record.
Songs such as ‘I Go Where You Go,’ ‘Take Your Sweet Time’ and ‘Sons and Daughters’ have an understated yet endearing quality, leaving, the impression of us wanting more.
Our favourite song though is ‘Upswing’. It’s simple but soulful and that message of intimacy leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Trust us, it’s possible.
To some, “ARMS” may be a bit of a slow burner but that’s exactly the way we like it.
We like to engross ourselves into the record and just give all our attention to it, deciphering every euphoric melody with their guitar strums, drum beats, bass lines and emotional expression of lyrics. It’s similar to that feeling of sitting down to read a really good book with a comforting cup of tea nearby.
Bell X1‘s warm indie rock sensibilities with alternative sounds on “ARMS” will charm you into liking them more and more with every listen. They’ve definitely charmed us.
“ARMS” is out now, and Bell X1 will be playing three Australian shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth this December