British rock trio The Xcerts have been a band for over ten years now. The band’s previous effort, 2014’s ‘There Is Only You’, firmly placed them as one of the UK’s most established and credible acts, while maybe not reaping the rewards that they quite clearly deserved. Yet, here we are with their follow-up and fourth record ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ and, if there’s any justice in the world, it’ll bump them right into the front rows of their contemporaries.
Record opener ‘The Dark’ is a piano led track that wouldn’t sound at all out of place on a David Bowie record. The song strolls along with a twinkly sounding piano, with frontman Murray Macleod‘s voice sounding as distressed as ever, and there’s a few bits of synth thrown in for good measure (as you’ll find throughout most of the record). It’s a bit of a weird track to open a record, yet it feels like a theatrical statement of the band solidifying a new start for themselves.
As soon as the music stops and Macleod begins to sing in a capella “Tell me then the worst is over”, the 80’s new wave sounding guitars start and we’re thrusted straight into ‘Daydream’; think if Deaf Havana and Bruce Springsteen made a record together. While ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ as a whole is radio friendly, this track is the most mainstream and likeable on the record, so it’s easy to see why it was picked to be one of the lead singles.
‘First Kiss Feeling’ is by far the best track on the record. Lyrically, it’s a reflection on past mistakes made by Macleod as is so apparent in the blunt and transparent lyrics, “I keep making the same mistakes over and over again”. It’s one of the catchiest tracks on the record, and it has the best of one of the many incredible choruses on offer here. By the time we get to the melodic anthem of the title-track, it’s difficult to picture it being played in anything but an arena with thousands of fans singing at the top of their lungs.
What The Xcerts have done with ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ is release an album that might have some of the best choruses in the past decade along with the most accomplished work of their career by a massive distance. The record is a non-stop enthralling listen which is already a formidable contender for album of the year. This is the record that’ll see them go from club shows to academy shows, and then onto arenas and main stage festival regulars in the near future.
Written by Jacob Eynon (@itsjustjake93)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.