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The Xcerts: There Is Only You *

Album Notes

Scottish outfit the Xcerts took their time putting together their third album -- a total of four years elapsed since their Mike Sapone-produced sophomore release Scatterbrain in 2010 -- and There Is Only You sees the trio bring together their pop sensibility with crushing alternative rock. Their prolonged absence wasn't spent twiddling their thumbs by any means, as the trio wrote the entire album while on tour with the likes of Brand New, Manchester Orchestra and Taking Back Sunday, and these groups have had a noticeable impact on the band's progression. There is, however, an audible desire to carve out their own identity on their third outing, and the frantic "Live Like This" is an instantly recognizable Xcerts song, with Murray Macleod's distinct accent flowing over a heavy guitar riff that explodes out of the pensive instrumental opener "2.12.12." There is also a solidity to this album that is rooted deep in the songwriting, with the juxtaposition of the soaring, buoyant pop melodies and sincerely personal lyrics that Macleod belts out -- with his heart firmly pinned to his sleeve -- adding further depth. This record moves them closer to the sound of their debut, and songs like "Teenage Lust" and "I Don't Care" follow the cathartic rock that the band really nail their authority on. The intense intimacy of the vocals are brought to the fore on the closing title track, which swells from a disarmingly emotive, piano-led intro into a manifestation of Macleod's despair, anger, and anguish as the guitars, drums, and bass kick in before the song culminates with repeating cries of "there is only you." As with most of this album, there's a lot of personal introspection that digs even deeper than before, and while there is little respite from the anthemic choruses and unashamedly catchy guitar hooks, each track has been assembled with the attention and care that it deserves. ~ Scott Kerr


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