Hailing from Celbridge, Co. Kildare, the Alternative-Rock troop Bell X1, formed out of the ashes of Juniper, a band well respected and admired. However Juniper collapsed following record company problems and the loss of their frontman and the group spent a number of years in limbo.
In 1999 the band regrouped around Paul Noonan who moved from drums to to lead vocals + guitar, David Geraghty on lead guitar, Brian Crosby on keyboards + guitar and Dominic Philips on bass.
Promoting their Universal debut album, "Neither Am I", recorded in the summer/autumn of 1999 with Nick Seymour of Crowded House and released in Ireland a year later, Bell X1 aired a couple of excellent singles, including the national top 40 hit "Man On Mir". They were frequently joined on tour by drummer Tim O'Donovan.
"Music In Mouth" was released in July 2003 and with their second album on the shelves, the group took to the road on a major concert tour opening for the likes of Keane, Starsailor, Aqualung and Snow Patrol. The album's main single, "Eve, The Apple Of My Eye" made a mid-chart appearance in U.K. and hit the top 20 on the Irish Pop chart.
Recorded in Dublin and mixed in London the follow-up
album, "Flock", was issued in Ireland in October 2005 and went straight to #1 on
the Pop chart. The record was released in the U.K. in early 2006 and two years
later in U.S. earning the band excellent reviews. The lead single, "Rocky Took A
Lover", was another national top 20 hit and eventually earned considerable
airplay among alt-Rock radio stations Stateside.
However Crosby decided to leave the band at the end of the "Flock" promotional tour.
The band's central trio of Paul Noonan, Dave Geraghty and Dominic Phillips penned every song on the Bell X1's fourth album, "Blue Lights On The Runway", which came out in February 2009 in Ireland and in early March in U.S. via Yep Roc Records. The 10-song set included the Irish top 3 hit "The Great Defector" and the follow-up single "The Ribs Of A Broken Umbrella".
The group has set "Bloodless Coup" as the title of their upcoming album; the disc, which includes the single "Velcro", will be available in shops and digitally around the world beginning April 1, 2011.
Second only to U2 as Ireland's most popular rock band, Bell X1 crafts a tight, melodic pop sound that calls to mind pre-electronic Radiohead and the more sedate side of Coldplay. Having recorded albums with the likes of Nick Seymour (Crowded House) and Roger Birichiam (Elvis Costello), the band is best known for its ability to craft infectious, durable, radio-friendly hooks with strong production values. Although officially formed in Celbridge, County Kildare, in 1999, the group's roots stretch back to the birth of Juniper in 1991. Formed straight out of school by eccentric singer Dodi Ma (better known by his given name Damien Rice), drummer Paul Noonan, keyboardist Brian Crosby, and bassist Dominic Philips, Juniper started out playing cover songs at weddings and other private functions around the nation's capital. After the addition of another school friend, guitarist David Geraghty, the band's focus shifted toward original music. Noted as one of the most exciting live acts around, Juniper's reputation grew rapidly and, following the release of two self-financed EPs, they signed a staggering six-album deal with Polygram Ireland in 1997.
Juniper released two commercially successful singles, "The Weatherman" and "The World Is Dead," but all was not well within the band's ranks. Disagreements over the choice of the second single (Rice wanted a number titled "Eskimo," which was overruled by Polygram) brought to a head long-standing tensions between Rice and his bandmates, his label, and his own creative ego. On the eve of recording Juniper's debut album in late 1998, he jumped ship, moving to rural Tuscany to tend sheep and rediscover himself as a solo songwriter. The remaining members regrouped with Paul Noonan assuming lead vocal duties, and Bell X1 (named for the first plane to break the sound barrier) was born.
Switching to Universal Music Ireland following Polygram's acquisition by the Universal Music Group, Bell X1 recorded their debut album, Neither Am I, with producer Nick Seymour, but it fell well below commercial expectations after its release in early 2000. Critical reception was equally unenthusiastic, with many reviewers noting that the group's dynamic hadn't been fully repaired since Rice's departure. The singles failed to take off, and the album wasn't released outside of Ireland; however, they managed to build upon their reputation as a live band of note, amassing a fiercely devoted following. Follow-up Music in Mouth reversed the trend, garnering rave reviews at home and in the U.K,, and producing the hit singles "Tongue" (Rice's final contribution to their recorded catalog) and "Eve, The Apple Of My Eye."
The release of Flock in late 2005 marked a new beginning. More confident and assured than either of its predecessors, Flock debuted at number one in the Irish album charts and won triumphant reviews at home and in the U.K. following its overseas release in March of 2006. Pre-release singles "Bigger Than Me" and "Flame" performed much better than expected, while "Rocky Took a Lover" was chosen as the third single on radio requests alone. The end of Bell X1's most successful year to date was documented with the CD/DVD set Tour de Flock in June of 2007, the first release on the band's newly established Bellyup Records label. Bell X1 returned in 2009 with Blue Lights on the Runway, which also debuted at number one, and quickly returned to the studio after the accompanying tour, emerging in early 2011 with Bloodless Coup.
~ Dave Donnelly, Rovi
Formed from the remnants of Juniper in 1999, the guys took the longer and harder route, ensuring they had firm ground below them before they headed out on the road to success. They went through a tumultuous time with the takeover of Polygram, by Universal just as they had been signed, but they emerged, took time and recorded their debut.
The album 'Neither Am I' has been described by those in the know 'as the best thing to come out of Ireland in years, showing an underlying genius and the hints of the greatness which will undoubtedly emerge'.