9 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The album title Chop Chop is meant to mean that Bell X1 has simplified its sound by "chopping" off pieces deemed extraneous. And with guarded acceptance, you might agree that the Irish trio's sixth album is its most restrained. (Well, the acoustic live album Field Recordings still holds that trophy.) That said, Chop Chop sounds neither malnourished nor particularly reined-in. The parts fit together in the ways a well-toured band learn on the road, and whatever Talking Heads comparisons Bell X1 has earned over the years now sound like lazy reaches by shopworn critics. "Starlings Over Brighton Pier" and "A Thousand Little Downers" gleam with their own romantic pianos and atmosphere, more in line with the milder climes of Coldplay if one were fishing for a comparison. Yet the band is comfortable in its own clothes here, settling in for the sweet melodies that come from the members' hearts, as the descending piano notes of "Careful What You Wish For" and the somber finale "The End Is Nigh" make clear.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The album title Chop Chop is meant to mean that Bell X1 has simplified its sound by "chopping" off pieces deemed extraneous. And with guarded acceptance, you might agree that the Irish trio's sixth album is its most restrained. (Well, the acoustic live album Field Recordings still holds that trophy.) That said, Chop Chop sounds neither malnourished nor particularly reined-in. The parts fit together in the ways a well-toured band learn on the road, and whatever Talking Heads comparisons Bell X1 has earned over the years now sound like lazy reaches by shopworn critics. "Starlings Over Brighton Pier" and "A Thousand Little Downers" gleam with their own romantic pianos and atmosphere, more in line with the milder climes of Coldplay if one were fishing for a comparison. Yet the band is comfortable in its own clothes here, settling in for the sweet melodies that come from the members' hearts, as the descending piano notes of "Careful What You Wish For" and the somber finale "The End Is Nigh" make clear.

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