Ireland's Bell X1 will release their fifth album, 'Bloodless Coup', in the UK on 4 April (Warner / ADA), preceded by the single 'Velcro' on 28 March. This follows extensive success across Europe and the US, sell-out London shows, and continuing plaudits in their homeland: the band's last album, 'Blue Lights on the Runway', debuted at Number One in Ireland, was certified multi-Platinum, and became the biggest selling independent title that year. Its lead single 'Great Defector' also went Top Ten in America.
'Bloodless Coup' sees the band mixing the organic with the digital, with electronic influences coming to the fore more than on previous releases. Singer Paul Noonan's infectious voice whisks you away with lyrics that range from social commentaries to more personal introspective songs like 'Nightwatchmen' and '74 Swans', and the unforgettable opening track 'Hey Anna Lena'. "There are certain moments in the process of making a record when it just clicks," Noonan says of the song. "And it's not from banging your head off a wall or constantly trying to verbalize what sort of journey a song should take. It just happens, and there are few more satisfying things in music."
The album was also made in the shadow of Ireland's economic implosion. While not a political record, Bell X1 couldn't help being influenced by the very personal consequences of a staggering national catastrophe. The album's lead single, 'Velcro', is lyrically inspired by this idea of sticking together and working hard through the dark moments. "Ireland is in a state of flux at the moment," says Noonan, "and there's lots of soul searching-who are we and why are we in such a mess? We all need to step up and play a part, and within the artistic and wider community there's an awareness and a desire to do so. I suppose there's a romantic notion of a bloodless coup to this, as there no is Great Hope in the political landscape to look to."
'Bloodless Coup' is about the idea that momentous change often happens in subtle or benign or lateral ways - a notion which could easily be applied to the quiet success of Bell X1's own self-made career. Noonan, Dave Geraghty (guitar) and Dominic Phillips (bass) first came together in County Kildare during 1999 as part of Juniper, alongside Damien Rice. When Rice left to start his solo career, the trio formed Bell X1, naming themselves after the first supersonic aircraft.
After three albums on Island Records, the band set up their own label to release 'Blue Lights on the Runway', which was to be their most successful album yet. Increasing success across Europe was quickly matched by a devoted following in the US, with sell-out tours and appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. 2010 saw them embark on an acoustic tour, selling out Bush Hall three months in advance and performing further dates across the US, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany and Holland.
Bell X1 will announce further touring plans shortly.