The Xcerts: Love, Loss and a Year In Hell
Frontman Murray Macleod looks back on his roller coaster year
IT’S WEIRD to think The Xcerts are veterans in the music game now, especially as the trio are now only in their mid-twenties. Although they didn’t put out their first album, In The Cold Wind We Smile, until 2009, the band actually began life eight years earlier, when vocalist/guitarist Murray Macleod (left) and bassist Jordan Smith were just 13. The pair put out a couple of EPs with former drummer Ross McTaggart, but it was really when Brighton-based Tom Heron replaced him in 2006 and the other two relocated from Aberdeen that things became more serious. Despite their youth, The Xcerts have always been old beyond their years, their songs driven by both wistful nostalgia and a raw and poignant romanticism – even on 2010’s abrasive follow-up, Scatterbrain. Yet neither are anything compared to their recently-released third full-length, There Is Only You. Intended as a triumphant record about love – albeit one punctuated by Macleod’s inherent penchant for melancholy and the anxiety attacks he’d been experiencing at the time of writing – halfway through its recording, Macleod’s girlfriend broke up with him, something which adds to the already heavy emotional weight of these songs. Yet there’s also a powerful sense of hope in the music – these are anthemic, catchy tunes, carefully constructed pop songs full of heart and soul. They deliberately set out to write a big album. They thoroughly succeeded.