Bell X1 - Fake Memory
- Review by Noël Duplaa
Info: One of Ireland’s most consistent and successful bands, Bell X1 are releasing their seventh album, Arms on Friday 14 October. Following on from 'The Upswing' and 'Out of Love', new single 'Fake Memory' combines interesting textures and atmospherics with their particular brand of literate, heart on sleeve anthemic sensibilities and provides a further glimpse of the shape of their new record.
Not that they ever particularly slipped, but with the release of 2013’s Chop Chop, Bell X1 seemed to experience a creative resurgence brought about, at least in part, by the revitalisation of their sound under the guidance of The National and Interpol producer, Peter Katis. Now reunited with him for their seventh studio album Arms, the first two singles showcased two very distinctive sides to their personalities - 'The Upswing' was a warm, sad torch song, played by seasoned musicians in a room, where 'Out of Love' was a cut and paste electro collage played by robots in a blender.
'Fake Memory' threads the line between those two extremes, drawing them towards each other, the band’s earnest humanity balanced by their yearning for experimental textures and sounds. Opening with the ebb and flow of a tapping guitar loop, Paul Noonan’s voice is echoed and reversed, matching his the flow of his thoughts as he drifts back into his past. One of Ireland's most consistently impressive lyricists, Noonan perfectly sketches his awkward, half-remembered and self-mythologised debs night: "Me in an ill-fitting tuxedo / Wrong colour cumberband." But as the song expands, his true intentions become apparent - our ability to forget is as important as our ability to remember - we need to reconstruct our embarrassments, pain and heartbreak to build a version of ourselves that isn’t consumed by the past. Or put more succinctly: "in this Venn diagram / That little sliver in the middle/ Who I want to be is who I am…"
About halfway in, the song erupts into a giddy fairground mania, as Noonan embraces the importance of lying to yourself and the power of imagination both to reconstruct the past and fuel the future. And in a way that is Bell X1’s superpower - in refusing to be defined by their history, repeating the same tricks again and again, they’re able to build on their established strengths while creating the fizzing remainder from their ever whirring imagination. And this latest string of form from them shows them still eager, still inventing and reinventing themselves and making it look easier each time.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
14th October - NCH, Dublin Pop-up shop and performance 6pm
20th October - Tower Records, Dublin 1.30pm
28th October – Milk Market, Limerick
29th October – Cork Opera House
4th November – Mandela Hall, Belfast
5th November – St Columbs, Derry