XCERTS WEB SLEEVE 21
Reviews

EP review: The Xcerts – So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way

The Xcerts pull down the blinds and wrap up on cosy covers EP, So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way

Even if events in 2020 hadn’t enforced a permanent staycation for musicians, it seems natural after the guitar-pop euphoria of 2018’s Hold On To Your Heart that The Xcerts might gravitate back towards comforting, more introspective waters. As a taster of an as-yet-untitled fifth album appearing later this year, So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way finds the Brighton-based trio in a familiar, melancholic mood on this sleight covers EP.

At first glance, it may seem a fool’s errand to take on Starship’s heroically naff We Built This City. Actually, it still seems daft on second glance. Yet to the band’s credit, they gently reverse engineer the pomp to leave a shivering elegy to empty streets and venues. Even nonsensical lyrics like Marconi plays the mamba’ sound poignant when delivered in Murray Mcleod’s hushed tones, over a wistfully picked acoustic guitar. 

For people of the band’s generation, Avril Lavigne’s 2002 debut Let Go was everywhere and Complicated – here shorn of its bounce and reworked as a nostalgic duet – will spark memories of a time when things were… well, less complicated. And even if that isn’t you, this version still warms cockles like a mug of tea on a winter’s morning. By contrast, The Cure’s Inbetween Days is played straight, but that’s no bad thing since the breezy guitar jangle and foot-tapping beats are a breath of fresh air in this cosy set.

Perhaps by revisiting their fresh-faced debut In The Cold Wind We Smile with a tour and reissue in 2019, The Xcerts reminded their fans – and themselves – how many of the same emotions still resonate. This EP of personal favourites confirms that they haven’t lost the sense of whisky-warmed intimacy that characterises their finest moments.

Verdict: 3/5

For Fans Of: The Cure, Dashboard Confessional, Slaughter Beach, Dog

So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way is out now via Raygun.

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Posted on January 15th 2021, 1:26p.m.
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