David Byrne’s Long Lost Irish Brother?

I was recently driving around the Upper Haight, looking for parking, and turned on a little KFOG to mellow me out.  In the middle of a set of what only could be described as “Adult Contemporary,” a song came on that actually got my head bouncing.  I instantly identified the sounds of the Talking Heads, but as I didn’t recognize the song, I pinned it as a new David Byrne project.


After I found a parking spot, I stayed in my car to learn the name of the track.  I was absolutely startled to hear the announcer utter the name of the group: “Bell X1.”

I went home and did a little research.  In 1999, Bell X1 formed out of the ruins of a band called “Jupiter,” previously fronted by Damian Rice and birthed in Co. Kildare, Ireland (wow, another Irish band named after an airplane).  After Rice left the group of musicians, the drummer, Paul Noonan, assumed frontman capacity.  It turns out that most of their tracks sound like the bastard children of Coldplay and Snow Patrol… except for the one I heard on KFOG: “The Great Defector.”  Apparently their influences switched to a positive direction for the creation of one song.  This track has Talking Heads written all over it, specifically a blend of “Girlfriend is Better” and “And She Was.”

Of course, maybe the best explanation is that Scotland-born David Byrne is actually Paul Noonan’s long lost brother…

David Byrne and Paul Noonan

David Byrne (left) and Paul Noonan (right)

You can check out the Bell X1 track below, complete with Nintendo intro (just try getting it out of your head):

And, though I couldn’t find “Girlfriend is Better” on YouTube for direct comparison, here is Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime” (for all-around awesomeness):



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