Chop Chop - Bell X1
Chop Chop Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Record Label: Belly Up
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jul 11, 2013
    80
    Recorded, mixed and mastered in just two weeks, Chop Chop oozes zest and focus. [Aug 2013, p. 89]
  2. Jul 17, 2013
    80
    Hypnotic and punchy by turns, it's a riveting album that finds Bell X1 pushing its established aesthetics in admirably new directions. [No. 100, p.52]
  3. Jul 11, 2013
    70
    While these certainly aren't pop songs designed to grab you in the immediate sense, they are gorgeous and poetic recordings that stick with you long after the songs have ended.
  4. 70
    As the album title hints, the songs were recorded in quick, live takes and condensed rather than stretched unnecessarily. This all works to the greater good and marks Chop Chop as a triumph of substance over sophistication.
  5. Jul 11, 2013
    60
    The more you ignore Bell X1, it seems, the better they get. [Aug 2013, p.94]
  6. Jul 11, 2013
    60
    Their seventh studio album removes some of the widescreen electronica and replaces it with a more, stripped back, acoustic vibe that rather suits them. [Aug 2013, p.67]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jul 17, 2014
    8
    A Return to Form
    Bell X1's 6th album is both the shortest and most mellow record of their career. It's also their most consistent record, if
    A Return to Form
    Bell X1's 6th album is both the shortest and most mellow record of their career. It's also their most consistent record, if not their best, since 2005's "Flock". 2009's "Blue Lights..." had its moments but labored the point at times. Similarly, Bloodless Coup wasn't bad but lacked the really great songs we had come to expect from the band. Chop Chop doesn't quite return to the form of their first three albums but is the closest they have come since those glorious early days.

    Opener "Starlings Over Brighton Pier" opens a bit like present day Radiohead, off kilter drum beats, brushing piano and haunting vocals but Paul Noonans vocals makes the album instantly recognisable as Bell X1. This song builds to brass and percussion crescendo with contrasting with Noonan's restrained vocals. "A Thousand Little Downers" is an upbeat piano melody set against another final vocal performance which is direct contrast to the album's opener. "Careful What You Wish For" is the highlight of the early section of the album, another piano driven song and is one of the best things the band have done. Next we have David Geraghty's customary vocal appearance. I'm a really big fan of his solo albums but funnily I always feel his appearances in the Bell X1 spotlight are underwhelming and Diorama continues this trend. This marks the start of an average middle section of the album with "I Will Follow You" and "Drive By Summer". Decent material but nothing more. The final third of the album starts with the excellent "Motorcades", gets even better with "Feint Praise" before finishing on a massive high with "The End Is Nigh", one of the bands best songs to date.

    The sequence of the album is a bit strange, almost like it's back to front to what you would expect. While Bell X1 have always had piano ballads, "Chop Chop" is dominated by the instrument and a little bit more variety wouldn't have gone astray on the album. Still, this is a return to form, a really good album that fans of the band will really enjoy.
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  2. BKM
    Jul 15, 2013
    8
    Bell X1 may not get a lot of attention from critics, fans or mainstream radio, but that hasn't stopped them from crafting yet anotherBell X1 may not get a lot of attention from critics, fans or mainstream radio, but that hasn't stopped them from crafting yet another exquisitely plaintive and beautiful set of pop songs that swim around in your head for days. Chop Chop is an underrated gem from an overlooked group that seems to get better with each album. Collapse