Review: Jack Foley
I HAVE to confess to being something of an Embrace sceptic.
Having been excited by them, early on, thanks to tracks such
as All You Good Good People, the band seemed to settle
into a dreary, ballad-driven routine, in the Come Back To
What You Know vein.
Current single, Gravity, which was written by Coldplay's
Chris Martin, did little to restore my faith - even though I have
come to like it more with each listen.
With Out of Nothing, however, the McNamara brothers
appear to have moved up a gear, incorporating a more uplifting,
less ponderous, feel to their music - and emerging from the shackles
that had seemed to constrain them for so long.
Indeed, the Coldplay connection would appear to be more far-reaching
than at first glimpsed, with the epic Looking As You Are
eschewing all the values of a Chris Martin number - yearning vocals,
sweeping choruses, and strong use of both piano and guitar to
reach several musical crescendos.
The harmonica-soaked Wish 'Em All Away is another eye-opener,
a ballad-based effort that plays to Danny McNamara's strengths
as both singer and songwriter, but which contains a more expansive,
heart-warming quality to it than we have come to expect.
Album opener, Ashes, is another instant classic and
a surefire contender for future single, courtesy of its driving
guitars and catchy chorus that set you off on exactly the right
It would have been easy, I guess, to open with Gravity,
yet it may also have been the point at which the Embrace cynics
departed, thinking 'not another ballad'.
Instead, they have reason to explore further and the journey
is a terrific undertaking.
Other highlights include the melodic Spell It Out, which
once more comes up with a terrific guitar riff and sing-along
chorus, as well as the beautifully atmospheric Glorious Day,
which looks set to become an anthem for young lovers everywhere.
There is the odd ponderous moment which screams out for an injection
of pace, and a little bit of life, but with Out of Nothing,
Embrace have hit back at their critics (including me) in the best
Their fourth album is easily their best to date and one which
comes highly recommended for anyone who is currently listening
to the likes of Keane, Coldplay or Snow Patrol.
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