When the Dublin, Ireland-based band Bell X1, went into the recording sessions for their sixth full-length effort Chop Chop, the band and their production team which includes the National’s long-time producer Peter Katis and Thomas Barlett was to simplify their sound, removing the electronics of their previous two albums. By stripping their sound to the essential parts, they’ve made their sound more direct and approachable – but if you pay attention, you can practically hear that the band recorded the album directly to tape, live. In fact, the material i’ve heard bristles and burns with an earnest, aching passion.
On Chop Chop’s latest single, “The End Is Nigh,” lead vocalist Paul Noonan sings with a bittersweet, earnestness and a devastatingly eerie level of acceptance about an impending apocalyptic event. There are odd novelistic details in the song, the people pointing at the sky and seeing something coming from the sky; the narrator’s observation that every moment is both fleeting and yet pure; the narrator’s sad lament about how nice it was to be human with some other human; and the narrator’s desperate desire to make one last human connection before the very end. “Whose eyes will I meet in the final throes?” he asks. It’s a gorgeous and sad song but with an underlying sense of hope.