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Acceptance goes kaleidoscopic as Scottish rockers The XCERTS tackle every plane of existence with oscillating styles on their brand new album Learning How To Live and Let Go.
By no means a new band, forming as teenagers in the early 2000s and already currently in command of four full length albums, everything about The XCERTS seems to somehow exude a youthful charm and fresh-faced wink. But The XCERTS, a group who are also best mates with Architects’ Sam Carter, have been at it for decades; a fact that almost led to the trio ending their careers before resolving to push forward into new creative waters. And it’s this seasoned tenure that rings through most potently in various stylistic forms on Learning How To Live and Let Go, the group’s first release via UNFD.
From the leisurely fuzzy and bombastic opening track GIMME, through to the buoyant yet haunting gloss of Car Crash Culture and the 90s-soaked arena banger Jealousy, Learning How To Live and Let Go embraces a noticeable production-heavy mantra alongside a firm shift in the trio’s songwriting and stylistic elements. Where Jealousy worships at the feet of Weezer and Hole, the Sam Carter-featured Ache subverts expectations with zero screams from Carter and a shoegaze-meets-blink-182 vibe throughout; a significant deviation from the straightforward melodics that had previously permeated their earlier material.
Simultaneously an album that will drag you back to the days of high school parties and first heartbreaks as much as it offers a beacon of hope for the weary, Learning How To Live and Let Go is a bright and bubbly balm from the Aberdeen-hailing trio.
Between its soaring softness (Drag Me Out), stripped-back emo ballads (Everything I Cannot Live Without), silken pop (Lovesick) and swirling, beseeching electronic anthems (Inhale(her)), Learning How To Live and Let Go never revels too long in any one particular genre, instead allowing the intimate yet powerful hush of guitarist and lead vocalist Murray Macleod to cohesively link each moment across the 12 tracks. And it’s Macleod that ultimately curbs the album from leaning too far into any potential disposable boy-band territory, flexing his genuine self-awareness and effervescent charisma in upbeat moments like Blame as much in serene lulls like My Friends Forever.
Simultaneously an album that will drag you back to the days of high school parties and first heartbreaks as much as it offers a beacon of hope for the weary, Learning How To Live and Let Go is a bright and bubbly balm from the Aberdeen-hailing trio. For those willing and able to explore beyond the radio singles, plenty of magic and carefully crafted treats lie in wait on The XCERTS’ album #5, and it’s a beautiful and clever rebrand from a group destined for great things.
STANDOUT TRACKS: GIMME, Ache, Blame
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Klaxons and Biffy Clyro with hints of pop and shoegaze