The Xcerts – Hold on to Your Heart
Hold On To Your Heart doesn't disappoint with its rose-tinted mix of heartbreaker rock and new-wave emo
Scottish trio The Xcerts have been drip-feeding hints at their new sound for a couple of months now – the dizzying singles Feels Like Falling in Love and Daydream suggesting that they were ready to make a play for big stages and a more widescreen sound. Hold on to Your Heart doesn't disappoint with its rose-tinted mix of heartbreaker rock and new-wave emo.
There is a deft simplicity across the ten songs of this record, only two of which tip the three-and-a-half-minute mark. Lyrics tend towards the vulnerable and 80s synths provide a heady, intoxicating backdrop for the lush, driving guitar sound. In terms of their contemporaries, there is something of The 1975's cinematic, John Hughes-esque lustre to them, but without any of the melodrama or excess.
What Hold on to Your Heart really is though, is a lesson in the art of the chorus. Rarely have so many fist-pumping, singalong hooks been squeezed into 40 minutes of music. The way the repetitive, quicksharp verses of Feels Like Falling in Love give way to that one bittersweet declaration; the more melancholic, anthemic build of the title track. It's on Drive Me Wild where you get the distillation of everything the band does so well – woops and hollers, unfussy guitar solos, Murray Macleod's voice like an Aberdonian Tom Petty, a beautifully nostalgic saxophone opening.
Arguably, nothing The Xcerts are doing hasn't been done before. Scotland especially does a fine turn in this guitar-heavy, emotionally fraught pop-rock – you could probably run a thread from The Blue Nile through Idlewild and wind up where we are now without too much fuss. It's just that The Xcerts do it better than anyone else, with the perfect blend of swagger, guts, and old school songwriting chops. January is miserable and freezing and Hold on to Your Heart is here to save us all.
Listen to: Feels Like Falling in Love, Drive Me Wild, We Are Gonna Live