Whether you think you have heard Embrace or not, you have
most certainly heard their influence. It is simply a statement of
fact that the current state of British bands would be very different
if not for Danny McNamara, his brother Richard, Mickey
Dale, Steven Firth, and Michael Heaton. Dare I say
that there would be no Coldplay? Certainly Radiohead would
not have turned from their pop roots to creating a slower, more experimental
sound without Embrace first coming on the scene and showing the entire
world that it was okay for Britpop to once more be composed of epic
balladry. The first Embrace record, The Good Will Out, was
released in the States, but the week before the single broke the charts,
the band was ubiquitously dropped from their then label, Geffen. Their
two subsequent records were only available in the UK, but Lava Records
finally stepped up and decided to pick up the new record for stateside
So, now it is finally time for the rest of the world
to hear about Embrace.
The album kicks off with the inspirational "Ashes", a track
that is sure to leave you feeling that life is good, and that there
is nowhere you'd rather be than right here, listening to more music
from Embrace. Strong piano drives alongside the rocksteady drumming
of Heaton and the powerful tenor of Danny McNamara. "Gravity"
was written by Chris Martin from Coldplay, a long time friend
of Danny's, and given to Embrace to record at the behest of Martin's
wife, Gwyneth Paltrow. The song is beautiful, a slow piano
ballad, and leads me to the conclusion that the only thing better
than a Coldplay love song is a Coldplay love song performed by Embrace.
This track is four and a half minutes of absolute aural bliss. "Looking
As You Are" holds the key line "The Devil and the deep blue
sea", and is a slower, more relaxed track than some of the others
here. Richard McNamara's guitar work is excellent, a divine mix of
subtlety and passion. Mickey Dale's keyboards on "A Glorious
Day" are akin to a stately music box, and lend the track an almost
lullaby feel before it breaks out into its full glory.
Whether or not you've heard an Embrace record before, or heard them
through the avenues that many people unknowingly have, now is the
time to go out, place your hard earned money on the counter, and get
what is probably the greatest British record of the year. You owe
it to yourself to give you the best music there is out there, right?
4. Looking As You Are
5. Wish 'Em All Away
7. Spell It Out
8. A Glorious Day
9. Near Life
10. Out Of Nothing
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