Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Xcerts – Scatterbrain (Xtra Mile Recordings)

‘Scatterbrain’ sees the return of The Xcerts after their extremely successful debut album, ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’. Having described their debut as a ‘greatest hits’ of songs from the bands early years, frontman Murray Macleod seems very positive about his bands second outing. He says it is “a proper album that paints a much more vibrant picture”, and he also praises the help of their new producer Mike Sapone (Taking Back Sunday, Brand New) who they saw as the fourth member of the band during the recording process.

The album itself starts off feeling very unsettled: Opening track and introduction to the album ‘Tar’ is a mess of guitar feedback, clattering drums and bass drones which after building to a chaotic peak breaks into the title track from the album that is reminiscent of the early 90’s grunge era (think Nirvana – ‘In Utero’ and you’re getting close to the mark). But it’s not a sound that particularly suits the band; the guitars are too nicely played, and the screaming vocals sound extremely out of place. It is a relief to me then that from the third song onwards the band seems to settle into their own groove. They sound at their best in songs such as ‘Distant Memory’, ‘He Sinks. He Sleeps’ and lead single off the album ‘Young (Belane)’ where they get in touch with their more commercial side. Sounding like all generations of Weezer mashed into one eleven song album they are fun, aggressive and extremely passionate. Macleod puts on a great vocal performance switching from shouting to singing instantly and seamlessly at times, while the songs themselves range from angry and angsty rock tracks to slow, reverberant power ballads. The result is a very well crafted album that is full of potential hit songs. It really is a pity then that those first two tracks seem so out of place, without them ‘Scatterbrain’ would be virtually faultless. 7/10


No comments:

Post a Comment