The first song on Hold On To Your Heart, the new album from The Xcerts, sets a remarkable tone for the whole work. On the soft piano driven ballad, it feels like you’re listening to pure emotion turned into song; there’s no unnecessary frill here. It’s the gnawing emotion of being a young adult turned into an album, as if the band sought out to be the scribe for their community and even, you might say, for their generation as a whole.
As the album goes on, the members of The Xcerts create what feels like an energetic anthem to the go-getter, embracing heartache and happiness. Their take on their generation is one that highlights the action and the positives in most situations, although it also includes the inherent negatives.
The album doesn’t at all just stick to the purely emotional nature of the opening piano ballad, although there is a strong sense of emotion throughout. The instrumentals are thoroughly emotional, fitting for the lyrics and for the music. Murray Macleod’s soaring but emotional vocals also help maintain this emotional feel — you get the sense from his singing that this is a guy who really believes in what he’s singing about. His band’s art feels intricately connected with the band members as people — it’s a very personal work, something to listen to as you go through the various experiences of this crazy thing we call life.
The album is marked by a passionate and emotional but confident storytelling. The speaker feels almost determined to see the bright side of things — something reinforced by the rather catchy, upbeat music — no matter what they’ve been through. The speaker refuses to let go of the emotionality and romanticism that brought them to their present place in life.
It’s hard to go away from this work coldhearted. It stirs something inside of you through its reflection of the pure reality of what it’s like to be a person these days. “We are gonna live!” MacLeod sings on the track of the same name, and that sums up the album well.