"From the moment I heard demos, I knew this was a special batch of songs, nestled in the sweet spot between wistfulness and joy," explains Thomas Bartlett, who oversaw Bell X1's sixth album alongside the National's longtime producer (Peter Katis). "The challenge was in making the songs rich and robust without losing the fragility and intimacy that made them so striking in the first place."

The solution was actually quite simple: Rather than rely on malevolent noise makers and malfunctioning computers like Bell X1 did on their last couple LPs, Chop Chop shaves their melancholic sound—sculpted by frontman Paul Noonan, bassist Dominic Philips and multi-instrumentalist David Geraghty—down to nothing but reverb-trailed riffs, wildly expressive vocals and delicately layered rhythms.

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