To say this band was a minor sensation is like saying the Britpop explosion was a small movement somewhere in the early 1990’s. Despite what was written about them at the time and what you might read on the internet this band was Big and was the epitome of Britpop and band who has gone through everything to be at the top of their game.
Ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce Embrace.
Hailing from West Yorkshire the in 1993 the band would go onto produce 5 studio albums, 23 singles and gather a huge following of fans from all over the world. I first heard them through their early EP’s around 1997 when I used to visit a local record shop where on that day they were playing the Fireworks EP in all its glory. I was hooked from the very first play and bought the 12” vinyl even before the song had reached the 2:00 minute mark. The band had a sound that for me set them apart from the other bands of the era as they had such a sweeping, open sound that felt so much bigger from a five piece band. So as some people might have seen on this blog I rarely make references to Oasis as I was not a massive fan of the band apart from their debut album but Embrace always was referenced as an Oasis copy and this to me is an injustice. Oasis was the poster child of the Britpop movement for some but Embrace was the face for me and my mates and many other kids of the 1990’s. I always used to say “Oasis didn’t invent guitar music ya know!” when Embrace was pigeonholed with the likes of oasis and the other so called Dad rock of time time. Unlike Oasis and Co these boys could write a tune with lyrics that meant something, not knocking Oasis as they wrote some cracking tunes in their early part of the career but Embrace wrote songs that I could relate to.
With songs like One Big Family with it’s in yer face bass line and distorted wah-wah hiding behind the heavy drum beat we would find a chorus that would be sung at full volume at every indie venue on a Friday night. From the rock heavy songs like One Big Family and Last Gas we would find a more gentle open side of the bad in songs like The Good Will Out and my personal favourite Fireworks. Music that has been stripped back to the bare essentials always gets me interested and here we find a band in their comfort zone writing arena filling ballads and its where I think Embrace shines. Just like a good album should their debut A Good Will Out builds up from the opening intro to the huge single Come Back To What You Know to the touching That’s All Changed Forever to the title track The Good Will Out. Now this is the way to end an album, like the Stone Roses before them with I Am The Resurrection we find the band produce a song that would be played as an outro at every indie clubs closing hours. From the openly meaningful lyrics to the softly played trumpets the song builds and builds to a crescendo of La, La, La’s at the 4:08. I think I may have found the perfect Britpop album and in my eyes a perfect album in its own write.
With their second album Drawn From Memory we find the band at the top of their game but with the Britpop movement now gone the future was unclear for the band. Even though the new album was sitting at number 8 in the UK album charts the sales were slow and like other bands of the era it seemed that guitar music was being dropped left right and centre. With the release of their third album and Britpop pretty much dead we find the band being dropped by their record label in 2002 and things seemed over.
But like they say “you can’t keep a good dog down”……….
In September 2004 they released the album Out Of Nothing and earned them the title of the Comeback kings of Britpop and would go on to release a song that would once again project them into the limelight once more. The single was Gravity and was originally written by Chris Martin from Coldplay who became friends with lead singer Danny McNamara when Coldplay had supported Embrace a few years earlier. The song would go top 10 in the single UK charts and would make the album reach Number 1 in the album chart. This would repeat for the bands fifth album This New Day and produce the bands biggest single Nature’s Law and the band would be at the top of their game.
So it’s now 2014 and with their new self-titled album just released it's looking good for all Embrace fans around the world. There are some bands who shine and fade away and there’s bands who give up at the first hurdle. But Embrace have been constantly battling through everything the music business can throw at a band and have come out the other end victorious.
Do something good today and go out and purchase one of the best back catalogues from the halls of British music and I guarantee you that you will fall in love just like I did back in that record shop in 1997.