I remember when the easy and clean single “The Great Defector” came out in 2009, and I heard this band for the first time and thought, “This is like if Coldplay was actually good.” Since then, Bell X1 have produced sleek and shimmery pop, and it’s consistently at the top of the genre. And their last album, Chop Chop, which came out three years ago, was their best yet. So how can they top it? Easy, by backing away from it. Where their last album was more raw and rock and roll than anything they’d done before, ARMS is back to their original, smooth sound—to the extreme. Some of it may seem to slide right off you, but it will stick around long enough to make a mark. Gentle and easy, perfect for a rainy day and wandering thoughts, ARMS is almost like a meditation.

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