On February 19, 2008, Americans will discover what hundreds of thousands of Irish music fans already know when Yep Roc Records releases Flock, the U.S. debut by Bell X1. Flock features twelve songs all written by the band, some of which have become anthems in their homeland. The album was produced by Roger Bechirian, who engineered many seminal early recordings by Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and Squeeze, among others.
It would be difficult to exaggerate Bell X1's popularity in Ireland. Their 2003 album Music in Mouth reached #15 on the Irish Album Charts and would eventually go double platinum, as the band toured relentlessly with the likes of Snow Patrol, Keane, Starsailor and Aqualung. But it was with Flock that they became a bona fide phenomenon. The album debuted atop the Irish Album Charts and has since achieved quadruple platinum status. At one point, four songs from Flock were simultaneously in the Top 20 on the Irish singles chart. As word of their epic, immersive live shows spread, Bell X1 became the second biggest concert draw in Ireland after U2. Earlier this year, Bell X1 released a live DVD/CD Tour De Flock on their own Belly Up label. It bowed at #4, the highest debut for a self-released title in the history of the Irish charts.
The Clare People, one of the largest circulation weekly papers in Ireland, recently raved, "Bell X1 have surpassed The Frames, Damien Rice, even Snow Patrol as the real creative drivers in Irish music."
U.S. tastemakers have embraced Bell X1 as well. In one of its first "Forkcast" columns earlier this year, Pitchfork Media reviewed the band's song "Flame" remixed by UK DJ crew Chicken Lips. In 2005, their song "Eve, The Apple of My Eye" was featured on The O.C. and a US tour that same year found them stopping by KCRW in Los Angeles for a live performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic with Nic Harcourt.
Though Flock marks their American debut, the members of Bell X1 have a lengthy history. They began performing together as teenagers under the name Juniper, a group that featured a young Damien Rice on vocals. When Rice left the band, Paul Noonan moved from the drummer's chair to the lead singer slot. As Noonan told KCRW, "We changed the name of the band and the music took on a different color" resulting in the singular sound of Bell X1.
Bell X1 are: Paul Noonan (vocals, guitar, percussion), David Geraghty (lead guitar, banjo, electric, piano, backing vocals), Dominic Philips (bass, backing vocals), Brian Crosby (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals) and Tim O'Donovan (drums).