Congratulations to Bell X1’s Paul Noonan for pulling off a huge upset on the Irish charts this week, wrestling the top spot away from Oasis’s "Definitely Maybe" reissue with his cozy duets disc.
With "Printer Clips," Noonan has created warm, sexy acoustic melodies with some of Ireland’s sultriest chanteuses, including Gemma Hayes and Lisa Hannigan.
“It's a bit of a midlife crisis really,” Noonan recently told the Irish Independent. “Instead of a Porsche, I got myself a duets record.
“Bell X1 is just too much man and I had to temper it slightly. It was getting too testosterone-fueled, so I've gone and made a more delicate affair. I've been lucky enough to play drums with Gemma Hayes and Cathy Davey and I've collaborated with Lisa Hannigan. I've always loved singing with girls. There's something about a duet that is much, much more than the sum of its parts.”
“Apparatchik” with Lisa Hannigan is the song that kicks off "Printer Clips." “‘Cos I am an old dog/that seeks a new trick/I won’t look down/these are the punches that we roll with/it’s so much easier to stomach it/I’m downwind of you,” they coo as a piano tinkles.
“The Snowman” is a delicate masterpiece that pairs Noonan with Hayes. “I can pin my hopes on you with a blindfold/the donkey would always have a tail,” they sing and at that moment it’s not just good, it’s Simon and Garfunkel harmoniously good!
“Mrs. Winchester” with Martha Wainwright is ripped from the floorboards of an Appalachian shack, Wainwright’s twangy delivery dancing with the understated fiddle.
Noonan’s voice is supple and masculine, yet it willingly and perfectly bends to the will of the female singer to create magic on every track. “The Cartographer” with Maria Doyle Kennedy is another gorgeous example.
Noonan has had to navigate through the eclectic (and at times, pretentious) Talking Heads-like textures of Bell X1, where every electrical whim is thrown against the wall in their arrangements. The band’s live and acoustic "Field Recordings" from 2012 hinted at the stark beauty in his tone and with "Printer Clips," he has finally found his voice.
"Printer Clips" is available on iTunes. To hear samples or to track tour dates, visit www.printerclips.com