YouTube Don't hate -- collate! Valient Thorr loosely parody 'Office Space' in…
- Posted on Mar 13th 2009 5:00PM by Rob Smy
Bell X1: 'Blue Lights on the Runway' (album): Showing themselves to be an eclectic bunch, this Irish three-piece claims to be influenced by "Mick Fleetwood's drums, Brian Eno's head, Gillian Welch's soul, Napoleon Dynamite's delicious bass." A heady mix, indeed. The deliciously titled opener, 'The Ribs of a Broken Umbrella,' sounds like a modern-day Roxy Music, crafting lush soundscapes with an insistent and booming backbeat accompanying singer Paul Noonan's Bryan Ferry-esque vocal. It's fair to say that Noonan's voice has something of a chameleonic quality to it -- during those moments when he really belts on 'One Stringed Harp' and, in particular, 'The Great Defector,' he sounds like a David Byrne of days past.
The band is probably thoroughly tired of hearing this pop fact, but a certain Mr. Damien Rice used to be a part of this crew, back when they were known as Juniper and were on the rise at home in Ireland. The band suffered directional differences and Rice departed for Tuscany to work on his solo project. What's interesting is how very different Bell sound from Rice's stuff. Their eclectic rock/electronica/ska fare appeals to just about anybody who isn't seeking out a folky aesthetic -- a site where Rice has firmly pitched his tent. We're fans of the Bell X1 sound and heartily recommend checking them out, stat. Download Bell X1 Songs | Buy X1 CDs
Pilot Speed: 'Put the Phone Down' (single): These Canadian rockers make a likable enough noise on this cut, starting out with tinkled chords on an ancient-sounding piano and some U2-like guitars. Todd Clark's vocal has a quality of familiar warmth to it, a little Thom Yorke, a little the dude from Snow Patrol -- either way it's suitably plaintive but with enough guts to retain the listener's interest into the choruses.
The biggest criticism here is that there is just nothing particularly remarkable about this song. The band do such a good job of sounding like so many of their peers that the tune sort of fades into "meh" territory -- kind of gray and nondescript. As we said, its likable, inoffensive even, but that shouldn't really be the sort of faint praise any band should be happy with. Download Pilot Speed Songs | Buy Pilot Speed CDs
Ben Harper and Relentless7: 'Shimmer and Shine' (single): Leave it to Mr. Harper and his shiny new rock band to lift us out of the uninspiring funk of mediocre tunes with this big-boot-in-the-behind beastie. Kicking the doors in with some drum work that would leave Dave Grohl in a seriously good mood, this track makes an early promise not to let up for a second, and, boy, does it keeps it. The track has it all -- a wicked little hook and a fully plugged-in watertight sound that can't help but satisfy. It's a song that is crying out to be heard live.
There's not a ton of information on the Relentless7, but Innocent Criminals fans can rest assured they aren't a permanent replacement. It seems that Harper was just looking for a rockier, meatier sound, and if this single is anything to go by, he's found it. We want to see them onstage. Immediately. Download Ben Harper & Relentless 7 Songs | Buy Ben Harper & Relentless 7 CDs