The Xcerts

In The Cold Wind We Smile

Written by: TL on 09/11/2010 23:44:07

Having just more or less burned two bands I used to like, let's move on to a band I have only recently discovered and found a liking for. The Xcerts are a three-piece - I used to think three-pieces couldn't be good, then discovered Biffy Clyro - from Scotland - I used to know nothing about Scottish music, then fell in rapid succession for Yashin, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Flood Of Red, The Twilight Sad, Twin Atlantic, Idlewild and Biffy Clyro. These guys I learned about from a review of their newest album "Scatterbrain", but upon checking out both that and their debut LP "In The Cold Wind We Smile", I immediately fell in love with the latter, listening to it over and over, and this I guess is why I am sliding a 2009 album in for review, when really I should be getting busy with current releases.

So yeah, basically "In The Cold Wind We Smile" is awesome. The Xcerts call their music "distorted pop", which apparently equals sounding like you have loads of influences in nineties indie and alternative, and a profound knack for penning a thoroughly memorable tune. For references, you could compare them to Twin Atlantic, or to a rougher You Me At Six, or a less quirky Biffy Clyro.

Regardless of who you line them up with though, this is not as important as the ridiculously high standard of songs on this debut of theirs. In a recent interview, lead singer and guitarist Murray Macleod said that the first album was really sort of a 'greatest hits' compilation of songs recorded during breaks in the extensive touring the band did in its early years. I guess that explains why so many of them sound like ones you'll remember for ages. "Crisis In The Slow Lane" is the kind of soaring anthem that many bands dream of some day being able to write, yet it sits nicely in the middle of twelve other tasty tracks, on this first album by these Scotsmen.

There's more of course, considering my lofty words, with "Home Versus Home" for instance featuring an ending that takes immediate residence in the mind, and other select choices could count "Listen. Don't Panic", "Cool Ethan" and "Do You Feel Safe", but in all honestly, the soundscape and song-writing ability is just so good on average that there's no need to ever approach the skip button with this album. It's the kind of record that is so engaging that most people should have an easy time getting into it right away, yet still raw, distorted and passionate enough for it to foretell many future re-visits, even after the initial fascination fades. It has me wondering, in the first year of the new decade, is the 90's already overtaking the 80's as the decade from which good bands will draw inspiration?

Download: Home Vs Home, Crisis In The Slow Lane, Cool Ethan
For The Fans Of: Twin Atlantic, Biffy Clyro, You Me At Six ('s slower, grander songs), Idlewild
Listen: myspace.com/thexcerts

Release Date 30.03.2009
Xtra Mile Records

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