Album Review: The Xcerts – So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way

The current Covid restrictions are forcing bands to find new ways of recording and releasing music and Aberdeen’s finest, The Xcerts, get crazily creative on their covers EP So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way.

Cover versions shouldn’t be mere facsimiles of the original. Rather, an artist should put their own stamp on proceedings and shape a song in their own image. That’s exactly the way The Xcerts have approached this four tracker and most notably on opener “We Built This City”. Originally performed by Starship and ever present on those ‘Worst Songs Of The ‘80s’ lists The Xcerts have taken this effervescent draught of fizzy pop and totally deconstructed it. Stripped bear it reveals a song heavily laden with melody, a sublime song structure that was lost amongst the bells and whistles of the original. The Xcerts version is more sedate (and thus more emotive) and you expect it to burst into life at any moment but the band resist any such temptation and gain a great deal of kudos for taking a different route.

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In opposition to Starship’s cheese The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” is a stone cold classic that regularly tops writers lists. However, where The Ramones created tension by marrying a raucous riff to lyrics about boredom The Xcerts foil bright, shiny guitar lines with acoustic strumming. The result is a dreamlike rendition that bears little resemblance to that which appeared on Road To Ruin yet you should forget the original and lose yourself within its newfound otherworldly quality.

Swirling around the listener like a snowstorm is the retelling of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”. Recorded in the midst of a global pandemic that’s turned the world upside down it nevertheless shines with an unfettered joy. Of these four tracks the take on The Cure’s “Inbetween Days” is the most similar manifestation as it positively bursts into life but it’s tethered by its lyrical bent that tells of loss and longing.

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Recorded during uncertain times So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way treads sure-footedly and leaves an indelible print on four well known tunes. An ethereal, gracious release that acts as a soothing balm this EP is like musical medicine and bodes well for a full length promised for later this year.

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So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way is released by Raygun Records on 15th January 2021

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