Nothing says a ten out of ten album like 12 tracks of melancholy dipped in solid fuzz guitars and heartache, and then wrapped in blistering choruses. Yes, The Xcerts have done it again; they’ve made a record that will completely floor you on the first listen and make you fall in love with them. The trio’s first two releases, 2009’s ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’ and the following year’s ‘Scatterbrain’ were outstanding records in their own right, but it can be said, easily to that matter, that ‘There Is Only You’ is the sound of a band at their creative peak.
Following a delicate intro track, ‘Live Like This’ bursts into action with no holds barred. Through a tight blitz of noise in the verses, the song opens up into a chorus so big that it could knock every artist in the ‘stadium anthem’ category of their glittery podium without breaking a sweat. Before you can pick yourself up, ‘Shaking In The Water’ comes along and slaps you across the face with its equally huge chorus and fuzzy guitars. Since this track was the first glimpse of the new material from the band in four years, it certainly delivered everything a The Xcerts fan could want.
The running theme through this LP is heartbreak, and it’s evident as it bleeds through the noise pop the band creates. However, while it may be all a bit melancholic, the songs still have a sense of hope around them. Maybe it’s the hands in the air, anthemic choruses that hit you in the chest every time vocalist/guitarist Murray Macleod sings it, or maybe it’s the fact that each song has that perfect mix between an alternative rock track and a pop song. ‘Kevin Costner’ and ‘Kids On Drugs’ exhibit this lament/pop-song method perfectly. They both have that sing-a-long chorus formula that’s powered by the tight connection between bass and drums, and the thunderous distorted guitars with the infectious melodies of that mix of pop and rock.
Closing this whirlwind of a journey is the album’s title-track, which is one half solemn piano ballad, one half storming rock song. As it brings the LP to an end with a rallying cry over Nirvana-infused sounds, it finishes flawlessly. This track really allows the listener to see the real emotion that was put into this record. ‘There Is Only You’ is a record of true heartache and loss. It’s the sound of three people putting everything they’ve got into one record, something that is getting rare these days.
Written by Ewan MacDonald