Embrace’s 2014 eponymous titled album was a remarkable departure from their epic gospel-indie sound. It took their established euphoria to new pastures and for once, shut the critics up. So where would brothers McNamara take us this time?
To coin an early Embrace lyric, they have ‘come back to what you know’. From start to finish, ‘Love Is A Basic Need’ is the archetypal Embrace sound. The slow emotive build to a crescendo of gospel singers and big choruses. Detractors will say it’s formulaic, but, few bands can define themselves this clearly.
‘The Finish Line’, ‘Snake Oil’, ‘My Luck Comes In Three’ and the duet with Kerri Watt ‘Never’, are all candidates to soundtrack some talentless no marks journey from X Factor audition to the judges sex dungeon round. Their ability to conjure rags to riches images to such a consistent level is admirable.
Lead of single ‘Wake Up Call’ is the pick of the bunch. As their recent tour proved, it’s a huge sing-along number, to the point that they open their sets with it. Fervent proof that older bands can still deliver radio friendly bangers!
Richard fronted songs usually offer something different on Embrace albums. On ‘Where You Sleeping’ though, it’s more a case of swapping Danny out for Richard. It’s another track where subtle guitar riffs build towards an upsurge of sentiment.
The familiarity of the album is both its up and downside. Twenty years on, some will say old hat, die hard fans will say a return to their roots. What cannot be called into question though, is their authenticity. This is not impassioned indie for the sake of it.