Dork Radio
Now playing:
In the mag...
Featuring Arlo Parks, Cavetown, Everything Everything, Aluna and loads more.
Order a copy
September 2020 (Arlo Parks)
Review

The Xcerts - Hold On To Your Heart

Messages of hope wrapped up in a bunch of sugar-rush rock songs.
The Xcerts - Hold On To Your Heart
Published: 8:05 pm, January 18, 2018
Messages of hope wrapped up in a bunch of sugar-rush rock songs.

Label: Raygun Records
Released: 19th January 2018
Rating: ★★★★

From start to finish and top to bottom, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ feels like the companion piece to 2014’s fantastic ‘There Is Only You’. That album detailed the breakdown of frontman Murray Macleod’s long-term relationship, in often harrowing detail. Stylistically this is the prequel, with 80s synths and pulsing drum beats replacing the feverish 90s-indebted indie rock of ‘There Is Only You’. The influences are worn proudly, and poignantly, in the wake of the untimely death of Murray’s hero Tom Petty. There’s no ‘American Girl’-sized crossover here, but the wide-open choruses and purposeful blend of keys, electric and acoustic guitars are all reminiscent of The Heartbreakers’ trademark sound.

The emotions of these songs are a far cry from the heartache of ‘Kick It’ and the desolation of ‘I Don’t Care’. That anxiety has been replaced with optimism on ‘Feels Like Falling in Love’ and a far more peaceful reflection on ‘Daydream’. From the delicate piano of opener ‘The Dark’, the record strikes a more optimistic tone than the sorrowful chords that closed the previous album, with Murray imploring “tell me when the worst is over”.

What follows is a string of power-pop anthems that shoot for the stars, and for the most part, they hit the mark. The E-Street saxophone solos on ‘Drive Me Wild’ are a risk but Macleod’s straight-faced sincerity and a solid gold hook make it work. ‘First Kiss Feeling’ is a bouncing pop song that in another life could have been a One Direction chart-topper, and the yearning ‘Crazy’ features a fantastically choreographed fadeout.

Where ‘There Is Only You’ found anguish and despair in the heartbreak, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ celebrates life and love, and that even between two people who’ve lost each other, those moments shared are what makes life worth living. No matter how dark things get, this album tells you to never shut out the light in your life. These messages of hope wrapped up in a bunch of sugar-rush rock songs hit the mark as The Xcerts stake their claim. Dillon Eastoe

Give all this a try

Any Other Questions with... Rachel Chinouriri
Feature

Any Other Questions with... Rachel Chinouriri

Oasis, Toys "R" Us and avocados: Rachel Chinouriri tackles this month's daft queries.
Track by Track: Oscar Lang - Hand Over Your Head EP
Feature

Track by Track: Oscar Lang - Hand Over Your Head EP

Oscar walks us through his new release, track by track.
Baby Queen: "I've settled on this word, anti-pop"
Feature

Baby Queen: "I've settled on this word, anti-pop"

Baby Queen is challenging the preconceptions of pop.
A day in the life of... Tom Rees from Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard
Feature

A day in the life of... Tom Rees from Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

From dusk 'til dawn with your favourite acts.
Like this? Subscribe to Dork and get every issue delivered direct to your door anywhere on the planet.
CONTACT PRIVACY ADVERTISE

© 2018 The Bunker Publishing