Universal/Island – 2005 – 51 minutes

With the release of 'Music in Mouth' in 2003, Bell X1 crafted a stunning collection, but the real test lay in whether they could do it again. The wait is over, their third album, 'Flock', is here, and it's every bit as good as its predecessor.

Bell X1 have put together a diverse collection, with the rocky vitriol of 'Reacharound' moving smoothly into the disco beat of 'Flame' and the gentler tones of 'Rocky Took a Lover'. The sounds here, as well as the lyrics, are intriguing. The songs meander unexpectedly, taking different directions and adding to the album's complexity.

When you can find something appealing about every song on an album, even the ones you wouldn't call your favourites, you know you've got something really special. Such was the case with 'Music in Mouth' and Bell X1 have done it again on 'Flock'. A turn of phrase or an interesting melody in the songs here finds you really engaging with the album, and the band behind it.

'Flock' is an accomplished collection from a clever and inventive band, whose talent deserves heapings of praise. Success at home seems assured, and 'Flock' should help Bell X1 make a real impact abroad too.

Katie Moten

Tracklisting: Reacharound – Flame – Rocky Took a Lover – He Said She Said – Bad Skin Day – Natalie – Bigger Than Me – Just Like Mr Benn – My First Born for a Song – Trampoline – Lamposts