I read a lot of reviews in music magazines and on-line. Easily hundreds every month. Very often I will find myself disagreeing with some of them. This is perfectly normal of course. Occasionally I will really have a problem with what I am reading. Usually that’s because I believe the author has totally missed the point or has been listening with ‘closed’ ears. Today however I read one of BellX1’s Flock that had me so worked up I was actually inspired to write back. Totally pointless I know, but I wrote it for my own piece of mind and to defend one of the good guys. The world is clogged with negativity and bitterness. I just wanted to dilute the opcean of spite with my tiny drop.
Here is the link to the review and underneath my e mail to Pitchfork.
Dear Sir/Madam,I rarely feel the need to comment on a review as I realise that, at the end of the day, reviews are just personal opinions and therefore there is no right or wrong. Having said that, one would expect, at the very least, some degree of fairness in a journalist’s review. This is why I was filled with disbelief and disappointment upon reading Ian Cohen’s scathing review of BellX1’s Flock. His review almost amounts to vitriol and goes totally beyond respectable journalism. In fact his writing is clearly spiteful, using such phrases such as ‘Rice’s decaf froth’, ‘fucking mp3’, ‘this shit’ or ‘like getting pelted with a mousepad’. I can totally understand somebody not liking this music but surely this is a very poor standard of writing. There are many ways of assessing music without resorting to being offensive. It is also my experience that very very few albums are realistically so bad that they would deserve such a vicious attack.
What is even more depressing is that BellX1 are actually a very hard working genuine indie-band with wonderful songs and inspired lyrics (all personal opinions of course). ‘Rocky took a lover’ is a modern day ‘Fairytale of New York’ written about a tramp, Rocky, who lived on the street outside where the band once lived in London. One night Rocky came back with a girlfriend in toe and the song is about them. I personally find the lyrics and emotions stunning so I was amused that Mr Cohen would single this out for what he refers to as ‘bulletproof fly shit’ (whatever that is).
The comparisons to the Verve, Coldplay and Travis are totally baffling to me. All three of those make (to my ears) dreary sounding music of a very English style while BellX1 are particularly Irish and more punk rock and funk. Does Mr Cohen actually listen to music? Talking Heads would be a much closer connection. Opening and closing his review with Damien Rice bashing and (bizarrely) Bloc Party promoting makes me wonder if the album was ever listened to at all.
Maybe BellX1 are too Irish, too pop, too nice for Mr Cohen, god knows what it is he is looking for in music but this review is totally undeserved. In my opinion Flock is a genuinely impressive album easily as good as Bloc Party (who I also like). Incidentally they are a great live band also. Faced with hurdles like this you can imagine where BellX1 come up with lines like ‘If there was a god then why is my arse, the perfect height for kicking’.
Thank you for reading my own two-pence worth. As REM once sang ‘I feel better having screamed, don’t you?’