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"Embrace - Out of Nothing - Go buy it"

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Mon 13/09/04 at 13:40
Regular
"Sexy Mexican Worker"
Posts: 261
Best sumed up in this review by: Karim Adab

It's hard to be an objective parent. Whereas before Embrace always harboured that tendency to fuss over minutiae, to pore over every detail with such attention that betrayed self-consciousness, their fourth studio album, Out Of Nothing, finally sees them free of their own fastidiousness. It wasn't that they ever did anything especially wrong. It’s just that sometimes you can care so much—too much—as to lose your perspective. By bowing to producer Youth as their musical Tsar, Embrace have reached emancipation through concession and in doing so allowed themselves the space to grow. Sometimes it’s good to lose control.

Embrace’s weapon of choice has always been the Chorus—and boy, do they chorus. There are precious few who come close to matching the quintet in this particular ring; the skill of burrowing into your cerebellum to register blow after melodic blow, demanding the attention of every sinew and synapse until you’re unwittingly punching the air in public like a pop-fuelled automaton. You are but a puppet to their string section.

To wit, “Ashes” and “Someday” are simply peerless examples of lionising gospel-rock, of this band’s ability to turn three chords into an impossible ascension into the heavens one minute and then veer them headlong into a wall of noise the next. “Keeping” represents the zenith of a lineage traceable back to those first faltering notes of their debut cut, its DNA positively cross-matched with earlier work but clearly augmented by experience and a courage of conviction not always so bold. “Spell It Out” cascades a torch-bearing refrain over five poptacular minutes and a feather-light bed of orchestration, and whilst “Wish ‘Em All Away” might be the kind of thing Embrace knock out between yawns, its complex sonic strata and ferocious middle eight ensure that your attention is rapt beyond the plodding principal refrain.

Even the record’s comparatively lesser moments are propelled with such fresh impetus as to elevate them well clear of the bar, not least lead single “Gravity”, tellingly one of three songs not to bear the standard McNamara/McNamara accreditation. Embrace’s creative engine is now more centralised than before, in contrast to the previous front-wheel drive of the brotherly songwriting axis, and in terms of maximising resources and mapping new ground this can only be considered a Very Good Thing.

For it’s toward the album’s climax that the anthemic tide relents in favour of the band’s oft-overlooked penchant for the different, as Out Of Nothing unfolds into territories little explored. “Near Life” was sewn together meticulously from studio jams and broken lines of half-muffled vocal and precipitates before your ears like smoke from a magic lamp. The title track stirs from its balladesque slumber to reveal a creature of furious vitriol, bleeding feedback as threads of weathered guitar flap about the percussive storm.

Someone once wrote of Embrace that they “fly like a ballerina but land like a council house”. Out Of Nothing sees them take off like an Exocet, obliterate all targets and then ricochet off under their own control. The album is validation of itself, a record about recovering from the precipice; fighting and winning in the name of something you know to be right. It’s a sense of lessons learnt, of finally finding your aim, and ends with the promise of reprise. This in itself could be considered a monumental victory for a band who’ve never seen over the side of the hill.

9 out of 10
Mon 13/09/04 at 16:27
Regular
"TheShiznit.co.uk"
Posts: 6,592
First album was excellent, lots of overblown 'we're better than Oasis' nonsense, had a big Liam-esque stagger. It was called The Good Will Out, and the best songs were All You Good Good People, Retread and Come Back To What You Know, with a few others worth a listen to. Hooligan was their okayish comeback single, but everything since hasn't been too hot.

Get the first album instead, it's great. Compared to Be Here Now it is, anyway.
Mon 13/09/04 at 14:08
Regular
"Pouch Ape"
Posts: 14,499
Not too sure, they can be a bit too bland. I've got their first album (can't remember the name), and it had it's moments, but overall some of the songs ended up sounding like the pap that Robbie Williams was coming out with at the time, and a bit samey - too much piano. Then they released that really good single and made their "comeback", although no one bought the album, leading to the use of quotation marks to describe their attempts.

Haven't heard the new single, but I know it was written by Chris Martin from Coldplay. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing, because he's capable of writing a good tune, but is a whiney todger.
Mon 13/09/04 at 13:59
Regular
"Infantalised Forums"
Posts: 23,089
Somebody said it sounded like a "school's xmas carol" - lots of well intentioned shouting and much bashing of cymbals, but only smiling parents actually cared enough to go.
Mon 13/09/04 at 13:40
Regular
"Sexy Mexican Worker"
Posts: 261
Best sumed up in this review by: Karim Adab

It's hard to be an objective parent. Whereas before Embrace always harboured that tendency to fuss over minutiae, to pore over every detail with such attention that betrayed self-consciousness, their fourth studio album, Out Of Nothing, finally sees them free of their own fastidiousness. It wasn't that they ever did anything especially wrong. It’s just that sometimes you can care so much—too much—as to lose your perspective. By bowing to producer Youth as their musical Tsar, Embrace have reached emancipation through concession and in doing so allowed themselves the space to grow. Sometimes it’s good to lose control.

Embrace’s weapon of choice has always been the Chorus—and boy, do they chorus. There are precious few who come close to matching the quintet in this particular ring; the skill of burrowing into your cerebellum to register blow after melodic blow, demanding the attention of every sinew and synapse until you’re unwittingly punching the air in public like a pop-fuelled automaton. You are but a puppet to their string section.

To wit, “Ashes” and “Someday” are simply peerless examples of lionising gospel-rock, of this band’s ability to turn three chords into an impossible ascension into the heavens one minute and then veer them headlong into a wall of noise the next. “Keeping” represents the zenith of a lineage traceable back to those first faltering notes of their debut cut, its DNA positively cross-matched with earlier work but clearly augmented by experience and a courage of conviction not always so bold. “Spell It Out” cascades a torch-bearing refrain over five poptacular minutes and a feather-light bed of orchestration, and whilst “Wish ‘Em All Away” might be the kind of thing Embrace knock out between yawns, its complex sonic strata and ferocious middle eight ensure that your attention is rapt beyond the plodding principal refrain.

Even the record’s comparatively lesser moments are propelled with such fresh impetus as to elevate them well clear of the bar, not least lead single “Gravity”, tellingly one of three songs not to bear the standard McNamara/McNamara accreditation. Embrace’s creative engine is now more centralised than before, in contrast to the previous front-wheel drive of the brotherly songwriting axis, and in terms of maximising resources and mapping new ground this can only be considered a Very Good Thing.

For it’s toward the album’s climax that the anthemic tide relents in favour of the band’s oft-overlooked penchant for the different, as Out Of Nothing unfolds into territories little explored. “Near Life” was sewn together meticulously from studio jams and broken lines of half-muffled vocal and precipitates before your ears like smoke from a magic lamp. The title track stirs from its balladesque slumber to reveal a creature of furious vitriol, bleeding feedback as threads of weathered guitar flap about the percussive storm.

Someone once wrote of Embrace that they “fly like a ballerina but land like a council house”. Out Of Nothing sees them take off like an Exocet, obliterate all targets and then ricochet off under their own control. The album is validation of itself, a record about recovering from the precipice; fighting and winning in the name of something you know to be right. It’s a sense of lessons learnt, of finally finding your aim, and ends with the promise of reprise. This in itself could be considered a monumental victory for a band who’ve never seen over the side of the hill.

9 out of 10

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