“‘Hold On To Your Heart’ is about finding a pinhole of light in the dark and turning it into the sun. We really did shoot for the stars with this one.” When Murray Macleod, the frontman of The XCERTS, surmises the band’s new album, it’s with the same wild-eyed enthusiasm and passion with which he pens sing-along modern pop anthems infused with a thick layer of 80s heartland rock. Hold On To Your Heart is a bold, pure love letter to a bygone era inked by a sentimental hopeless romantic. Buoyed by the response to There is Only You, the band’s astonishing, life-affirming 2014 third album, The XCERTS were invigorated and inspired to created a 10-track love-letter to hope, belief and aspiration. The album chronicles Macleod’s descent into the dark and his determination to crawl back into the light. The band looked to the classics as a vessel with which to deliver these songs; shying away from contemporary influences and digging into the deep-rooted rich tapestry once weaved by Springsteen and Petty, The XCERTS throw-back to more innocent times, where the boy gets the girl and lives happily ever after. They yearn for a simpler time where dreams were made for living. “We were trying to capture the ending of The Breakfast Club. It’s about that feeling of wanting to be outside and experiencing life; don’t sit in your house looking at the girl on Facebook, go get the girl!”
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Like all your favourite indie bands rolled into one. Think The Strokes meet Wolf Alice, and you’re halfway there’ – NME
Louise Bartle has been drumming since childhood. After cutting her teeth as a session player with pop stars like Selena Gomez and Eliza Doolittle, she landed the gig playing drums for Bloc Party in 2015. It was around that time that she began writing her own songs. Touring has a lot of downtime, after all, and she was armed with a guitar and a whole bunch of feelings.
Bloc Party guitarist Russell Lissack took immediate notice of Louise’s writing skills. “The moment I met Louise, I knew we had a unique musical chemistry,” Russell says. “We often joke that we must be twins because we are so in sync.”
Bassist Iona Thomas, originally from Wales and a touring harpist/backing vocalist with artists like Neneh Cherry and Laura Mvula, became friends with Louise through the London music scene. Similarly, Venezuelan drummer Tony Alda met Louise when the two of them attended many of the same open mic nights around town.
“Writing songs in NOVACUB has been a magical experience for me,” Louise says. “I have been able to express myself fully and let loose all my creative juices. Meeting Russell was vital – he’s helped pull out my creativity and has given me the confidence to stand up front on stage. Tony and Iona give NOVACUB our full identity and bring so much excitement into the band.”
“Iona and Tony as our rhythm section was the missing piece of the puzzle we were looking for,” Russell adds.