UK rock is in fine health if the latest EP from The Xcerts is anything to go by. ‘Slackerpop’ sees the young band deliver a fine rousing bombastic lead track and alternative versions of four of their other songs.
Whilst there are strong punk-infused moments in the title song, its melodic progression makes it appeal to a wider audience than the band might have yet attracted to their live shows.
Alternative versions of ‘Gum’, ‘He Sinks, She Sleeps’, ‘Young’ and ‘I See Things Differently’ give these familiar songs a new stripped-back treatment. This renders heartfelt lyrics, like “I wish I was still close to you” from ‘Gum’ in a new, tender light. And recurring moments of gentle harmony, such as that in the closing track ‘I See Things Differently’, give a breadth to the vocal texture of the arrangements.
The removal of The Xcerts’ usual heavy distortion tactics leaves the way for a new clarity in the guitar work (which is echoed with a new softly-resonant percussion). Additional bowed strings occur on ‘Young’, lending an expansive feel to this edgily-strummed track.
By re-making their songs afresh The Xcerts will delight their existing fans. But they may also win many new ones with this development in the intimacy of their sound.