29 June 2009

>>>The Xcerts>>>In The Cold Wind We Smile
The amount of talent flooding from Scotland in the last half-decade or so. From the obvious Franz, View and Glasvegas to the more underground likes of Broken Records, Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit, it would seem there's something in the water north of the border. The Xcerts are the latest in a long line of band to hope over Hadrian's Wall, armed with some cool haircuts and a armful of proper tunes Alright, the drummer is from Exeter, but we'll ignore that for the time being.

This, their fantastically-titled debut "In The Cold Wind We Smile", has enough to please anyone, as long as you like loud shouty-yet-cacthy rock. The easiest comparison to make would be with the almighty Biffy Clyro, as both bands have an affinity for "quiet-loud-quiet-LOUD!" dynamics and the odd angular riff, as evidenced most clearly in "Listen Don't Panic". I could blather on about the many musical influences/touchstones that find themselves on this album, such as Ash, Nirvana, nu-metal (in a good way), but that would be boring and also because the band are in a field of their own. Their are hooks aplenty throughout "In The Cold Wind..." from cutesy "oooh-oooh-oooh"s on album highlight "Just Go Home" to the passionate bellowing on "Crisis In The Slow Lane". Musically, The Xcerts have talent beyond their young years, switching between tinnitus-inducing walls of noise, restrained, slow burning verses, funky, poppy middle eighths and acoustic laments all in the space of a few tracks.

For a debut, the sonic pallete is pretty amazing. They could either be a new My Bloddy Valentine or Foo Fighters or, judging by the calmer moments of the album, an alternative U2. And when it comes to lyrics, the band have a certain knack for tugging on hearstrings with at least one line per song. Prime examples such as "We could stay up, drink and talk this night away/The liquid that burns us is fire for words we wish we'd say" ("Just Go Home"), "I'm your new best friend/Yeah I'm your new haircut/Yeah I'm the open hole that burns down your neck and into your gut" ("Aberdeen 1987") and "We sat on a bridge and smoke until our lungs collapsed" ("Lost But Not Alone") should provide a lot of singalong moments at Xcerts gigs.

Going on the fact that they could appeal to pretty much any teen sub-culture that doesn't revolve around 'beats', it's suprising that The Xcerts aren't pretty big or at least on more "Ones To Watch" lists. "In The Cold Wind..." is a gem of an album and should they get the right amount of exposure (e.g. soundtracking a moment of angst on Skins/Hollyoaks, yet more support slots with the likes of Biffy and Future Of The Left) then The Xcerts will be making a lot of people's lives louder for the better
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "Home Versus Home", "Lost But Not Alone", Crisis In The Slow Lane", "Just Go Home", "Aberdeen 1987"
FOR FANS OF: Ash, Biffy Clyro, Nirvana, Tubelord, Dananananaykroyd


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