The Xcerts – ‘There Is Only You’

By Ben Tipple

‘There Is Only You’, the third full-length by Aberdeen via Exeter based melodic rockers The Xcerts, sees the band firmly find their feet. Although it may not be immediately evident that these feet were lost on first listens to both their ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’ debut and 2010’s ‘Scatterbrain’, their latest effort serves to pinpoint the successes of both the prior releases – ultimately offering them up on an extremely well-presented and immensely enjoyable platter.

Taking the melodic quality the understated Scots introduced on ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’, ‘There Is Only You’ definitively parts ways with the critically acclaimed American emo edge that dominated their sophomore release. Surprisingly, their time on the road with the influential Brand New appears to have moved The Xcerts further away from the sound they began to emulate working with shared producer Mike Sapone. Tellingly, ‘There Is Only You’ sees the band move back to Dave Eringa who boasted production credit on the debut.

Finding the middle ground, ‘There Is Only You’ amps up the grandiose atmospherics. Tracks such as ‘I Don’t Care’ witness the band play with a wider array of instruments, underpinned by string instruments and piano keys that push The Xcerts towards the likes of fellow countrymen Twin Atlantic. Yet to compare them with their increasingly popular Scottish pop-rock counterparts would do ‘There Is Only You’ a disservice. The Xcerts retain a raw quality within the lavish production that was arguably lost during the transition by other bands.

‘Live Like This’ and ‘Kick It’ in particular brim with emotion and honesty, aided by the unapologetic quiet-loud dynamic rather than finding themselves dramatised. The title-track and album closer successfully delivers an epic finale without appearing overdone. The Xcerts that brought ‘Scatterbrain’ into the world are still embedded in the sound, yet free to turn their attention towards a shameless melody driven record.

For a band well versed in toilet circuits and opening slots, ‘There Is Only You’ should rightfully see them garner a wealth of attention. If ‘In The Cold Win We Smile’ introduced them to the world and ‘Scatterbrain’ attracted the critics, ‘There Is Only You’ should attract the masses. On it, The Xcerts have well and truly found their feet and now they are ready to sprint.

BEN TIPPLE

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