Over the course of four albums, Irish (sm)art-rock trio Bell X1 have deftly walked the fine line between brain and brawn, elevating them to the stature of one of the U.K.'s most prestigious bands while inexplicably eluding a more dramatic commercial dent on this side of the Atlantic. New album Bloodless Coup (April 12, YepRoc), the successor to 2009's Blue Light On the Runway, may finally alter that scenario. The new project confidently tweaks the Bell X1 aesthetic, drifting in and out of the stylistic gray area of their own making, wiring into the electronics and drum loops while keeping the guitar riffs peeling clearly, engulfing their melodies in an atmospheric haze of Radiohead-styled beeping beats and Coldplay-ish keyboard textures.
For Coup, Bell X1 brought engineer/producer Rob Kirwan (Editors, Glasvegas) on board to help shape and expand their sound. Moody lead track "Hey Anna Lena" is a confident and promising start, an electronica rhythm machine yielding to an insistent piano riff and meandering bass line, frontman/songwriter Paul Noonan's tenor wafting above it all in anthemic splendor. It's not until the three-minute mark that the guitars slowly build over a dense bed of keys and prog-rock drum splay. Artful and inventive, Bell X1 have been poised for a major stateside presence for years and with "Anna Lena" as an indicator, Bloodless Coup may not be revolutionary but it just may be the impressive power ploy that gets them there. Watch the in-studio video after the jump.
Bell X1 - "Hey Anna Lena" (from the album Bloodless Coup)