BELL X1 play Mod Club June 1. See listing. Rating: NNN
Bell X1 are huge in their native Ireland but mostly known in North America for getting their music used on The O.C. for the famous lesbian kiss scene. There's a good chance their sixth album will help them break beyond that, though, even if it's not the most exciting record on the shelves this month.
They're often compared to the Talking Heads, but that's more because of Paul Noonan's occasionally yelpy vocals than anything musical. Essentially, they're an earnest guitar band trying to move beyond that by incorporating electronic touches and experimental influences. Unlike Radiohead, however, these guys are still invested in writing actual songs and aren't averse to straightforward rhythms and big hooks.
This pretty solid record shouldn't disappoint existing fans. However, it's more pleasant than mind-blowing, and you notice the pretty sounds more than the songs themselves.
Top track: 4 Minute Mile