"Nestled in the sweet spot between wistfulness and joy" is how Thomas "Doveman" Bartlett describes the songs that make Chop Chop, the sixth album out this week from Irish art-pop trio Bell X1. And he should know. Bartlett and Peter Katis, veteran studio man for The National, took on the production chores for what has emerged as an excellent collection of dramatically minimalist songs that both refines and tightens the sound of Bell X1. "The challenge," adds Bartlett, "was in making the songs rich and robust without losing the fragility and intimacy that made them so striking in the first place." That focus on paring a song back to it's near-skeletal structure gives songs like "Careful What You Wish For" the ability to build and develop with economy and efficiency without sacrificing the expansive scope the trio is known for. Think of it as grand theater reimagined on a stark, near empty stage. "Shrink the palette, you know?" says frontman Paul Noonan. "Chop chop!" Stream "Starlings Over Brighton Pier" and watch the video for "The End Is Nigh" after the jump. Full album stream here.
Bell X1 - "Careful What You Wish For" (from Chop Chop)
Bell X1 - "Starlings Over Brighton Pier" (from Chop Chop)