Bell X1 Flock

Big in Ireland but virtually unknown outside of the UK, Bell X1 are yet another act from across the pond destined to get lost in the crowd of bottom feeding British indie rock. Flock, their third album, isn’t half bad in comparison to their peers, but it doesn’t exactly offer much in the form of progressing beyond the post-Radiohead, post-Coldplay worlds they find themselves struggling to escape. The big swooping guitars, somewhat unconventional song structures/instrumentation and more than a few heaping teaspoons of dramatic flair are what sets them apart from the like, but it’s also what ails them. "My First Born for a Song” rides Radiohead’s design quite closely, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they could compete, but naturally the song shrinks into a flaccid pretence. "Flame” works a similar formula, coming out of the gates as a nice take on the Rapture’s "Sister Saviour,” only to retreat once the verse kicks in and venture into bland rock territory. Bell X1 have the potential to produce a better left-field yet radio-friendly alternative to the many other inferior bands of the same ilk saturating the market. The only problem is they fail to realise this by falling back into the conventional mould just as things get interesting. Hopefully they’ll realise this before they sink into that deep dark abyss where bands like Whipping Boy and Catherine Wheel fell hard. (Island)