The Xcerts have shared their tender takes on four of their most-cherished songs on new EP ‘So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way’ (it’s only fair to ask where is The Rembrandts cover?). Recorded with producer Ryan Burnett, the EP was finished just before the second lockdown and comes ahead of a planned LP in 2021. Frontman Murray Macleod says this EP was shaped by the unfamiliar surroundings we all found ourselves in last year: ‘Since the first lockdown, I’ve found it fascinating that we are interpreting beloved songs and lyrics, poems, movies, books, tv shows, pieces of art, so differently because of the current climate. The EP features 4 songs that we’ve always loved and found comfort in, but during this time the lyrics have presented themselves in a different light and each song has taken on a whole new meaning.’
Starship’s ‘We Built This City’ (co-written by Bernie Taupin no less; their other mega hit ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us’ was written by Diane Warren and Albert Hammond) is the first song to received an atmospheric and emotional Xcerts makeover. Murray says he’s spent many nights at clubs belting out the words in a drunken state but when he pared the song down, he realised its central message could be applied to the current situation: ‘We just want to dance here, someone stole the stage’. Murray also has a message that we should all live by in 2021: ‘I hope music lovers across the globe who listen to this song feel hopeful, defiant and unified when they hear the words ‘we built this city on rock and roll’, because despite what certain members of the British government think, we really fucking did.’
‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ by the Ramones is next up and is transformed into an alt-folk anthem that Jeff Tweedy would be proud to call his own. Again, there’s a focus on the words that sum up the state of purgatory we found ourselves in: ‘Nothing to do, nowhere to go, I wanna be sedated’. The teen emo anthem of a heartbroken generation, Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’, follows and The Xcerts have given it a ‘Nebraska’ feel with its stripped-back sound. There is also a guest appearance from fellow Brighton artist Heights whose vocals perfectly complement Murray’s – especially when they sing in tandem during the chorus. It reminded us a little of the Reuben classic ‘Good Luck’.
The EP closes with a synthpop/Casiotone-inspired cover of The Cure’s ‘Inbetween Days – except now it has chunkier riffs. You can just tell it must have been so much fun to record. As we look ahead to a brighter future, it’s a great time to appreciate – like The Xcerts have here – just how much music and the arts shapes our life, even when we have a government hellbent on destroying the creative industry.