Arts, Culture & Media

Global hit - BellX1

U2 isn't the only Irish rock band named after an American military aircraft. Bell X1 takes its name from the first plane to ever break the sound barrier. Bell X1 is huge back home in Ireland. The band has been known to sell out concert venues of 20,000 people. But now, Bell X1 is trying to break a sound barrier of its own -- the American music market. The World's Clark Boyd has today's Global Hit.

Bell X1 has been cranking out hits in Ireland since the year 2000. The band's released three albums to date. The latest, Flock, is one of those CDs that's impossible to pigeonhole.

It includes hints of everything from Thin Lizzy, to surprise! U2 -- to the Talking Heads. Bell X1's lead vocalist is Paul Noonan.

�We're kind of influenced by lots of different kinds of music...and while it's loosely rock music, we try not to be too macho about it.�

That approach has won the band a loyal following on the other side of the pond over the years.

But finding an audience in the United States has been a much longer...and much stranger...trip. After all, Flock came out in Ireland in 2005. It hits stores here in the United States tomorrow. One featured track is a ballad called "Eve, the Apple of My Eye." Now, there's a good chance that you -- or maybe your teenager -- knows this Bell X1 tune already.

Paul Noonan says that's because it was featured in an episode of the Fox teen drama "The O.C."

�We got an email from the people who kind of place music in shows, and they said we really like your record -- i don't know how they got it - -but they said we really like it and we want to put in the show. I mean at first we thought it was a joke -- because I would've thought these sorts of things happen at some kind of high level, boardroom, and lots of horse-trading going on. But it was a reassuring example of how you keep doing what you're doing and your music will find its way out there in the most bizarre of ways.�

�We came over and did some shows in New York, and LA and San Francisco...and it was only because the tune had been used in this way. Whatever it takes to make it happen, we're OK with that.�

But, Noonan says, he hopes that the release of Flock in the United States will prove to an American audience that Bell X1 is about more than just slow love songs.

�Joy for us has always been the most difficult thing to convey. We can do kind of moany, wrenched ballads. We've always been kind of pretty good at that....but on the other end of the spectrum has something we've found it pretty hard to do. So, we were determined about injecting a bit of that into this record.�

And that's why Bell X1 wants to highlight tracks like "Flame." Bell X1 will tour throughout the US in March. Then, back to Ireland to try to finish a new studio album by the end of the year.

For the World, this is Clark Boyd