With Idlewild, Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic prime examples of Scottish noise-merchants making the breakthrough, a new name to add that list is Aberdeen trio The Xcerts. After two albums of fuzzy, lo-fi rock that presented shards of melody and a Brand New-indebted aesthetic, the band make the leap into more refined territories with There Is Only You, which packs a mighty wallop.
Opener Live Like This sets the tone for the rest of the LP – a rush of driving melodies, singer Murray Macleod’s anguished Scotch howl and an ear for crunchy, catchy choruses. Shaking In The Water is their best single since Young (Beline), beginning with a twinkling Deaf Havana riff before exploding into a stomping, fist-pumping hook. Similarly, the band channel the same energy and longing of fellow threesome General Fiasco in the tumbling, melodic fuzz of Kick It.
When they slow things down, they bring back memories of their former record. Kevin Costner, thankfully, isn’t in The Postman territory and carries an air of menace, whilst the bittersweet I Don’t Care displays a band whose maturity has soared since 2010′s Scatterbrain. Testament to their quality that although the album follows a strict formula, it doesn’t dissolve into sameyness, and they do a good job of bucking the trend with the bouncy Teenage Lust and the emo-addled undercurrents of She.
“You hurt me, like a pop song in my head,” wails Macleod on the mid-paced majesty of Pop Song. You’re in our heads, Murray, but you’re certainly not doing us any harm. Long may it continue.
Words: Samuel Lambeth
There Is Only You is out now. Buy it here.