Bell X1
Music In Mouth
Island
2003
D-



juniper were a band who hailed from Ireland in the mid-to-late 90s, and featured Damien Rice on vocals. Rice left when contractual wrangles or something led to recording delays, and, after performing at Glastonbury this year, is now quite famous. Probably only because David Gray was busy, or something... Anyway, the rest of Juniper decided to carry on without old Damien, and re-christened themselves Bell X1, after the first plane to break the sound barrier, or something. Unfortunately Bell X1 the band aren’t even in danger of breaking my attention because they’re very dull. Or something.


ARGH! This sounds like U2 gone alt.country, like Coldplay without the public school education, like Radiohead circa The Bends only without any ideas or tunes or a wicked producer, like Crowded House if they were embarrassed of pop music. Guitars are strummed and words are sung and one song is about an Irish DJ who died or something, and the lyrics are quite touching in a really pedestrian way, and there’s a banjo at times, and sometimes there’s a touch of filtersweep in the production just to remind us that this was recorded in the mid 90s...


There’s a song called “Tongue” that’s co-written by Damien Rice. He might sing on it too only I can’t tell because I don’t know what he sounds like. Anyway, “Tongue” is quite good, or would be if I’d never heard The Verve or Radiohead do this emotive, grandiose, brooding modern rock thing years ago and much better too. There’s a tune called “Daybreak” which would be alright if I’d never heard “Sunrise” by Pulp, which similarly starts off really small only actually does manage to explode in light and warmth and make you happy in a magnificent, what-a-piece-of-dust-I-am-upon-this-quintessence way, like a real sunrise. But “Daybreak” doesn’t, though the guys in the band probably reckoned that was what they were doing. There’s a tune called “West Of Her Spine” which would be quite country if I’d never heard Johnny Cash or Gillian Welch, and would be quite sexy if I’d never had sex. There’s a tune called “White Water Song” which, like every song with the word ‘song’ in its title, thinks of itself as really important, and would really rock my world if I was an accountant and wore a suit to work and had never heard, say, any fucking rock music. And there’s a tune called “Eve, The Apple Of My Eye” which has got an organ-drenched chorus so perfectly formed with melancholy in mind (“can’t you see the grass is greener where it rains” - not a song about hydroponics, kids) that it almost makes me feel sick. Oh, and that sounds like that “you’ll live / you’ll learn” thing Alanis Morrissette did years ago.


God knows how I’ve squeezed 472 words out of this record.


Reviewed by: Nick Southall
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
Comments (13)
 

 
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