This New Day

Studio Album by released in 2006

This New Day review

New confidence and an epic style from the Yorkshire fivesome

Following in the footsteps of Oasis and the Verve, Embrace became a minor pop sensation in post-Brit-pop Britain in the late '90s. Like Oasis, the group has a knack for big, anthemic hooks, yet they turn these catchy numbers into sweeping, sprawling, lugubrious rockers, much like the Verve. Embrace’s 2004 Out Of Nothing record couldn’t really have been any more appropriately titled, for they made one of the most astonishing comebacks of the music industry in recent times. Their third album, If You’ve Never Been, seemed to signal the end of the quintet, as they lost their record deal and disappeared off the radar. Now very much on the ascendancy, they release their fifth album, This New Day, which sees them once again teaming up with producer and former Killing Joke member Youth. Embrace have struck gold with this triumphant, uplifting disc, which signals a whole new era for the indie-rockers. This record is packed with hits and heralds a new confidence and an epic style from the Yorkshire fivesome. Danny McNamara’s vocals – a long-time Achilles Heel – have dramatically improved, hitting the high notes with seeming effortlessness. For the first time all band members have collaborated on writing, and the resulting lyrics are strong, with an overriding theme of fresh starts, taking chances and proving yourself, clearly providing the drive behind the songs.

It looks as if Embrace’s future is very promising

Opening number No Use Crying is one of a number of tracks, which have previously been tested live. An up-tempo indie-anthem, it is not too dissimilar to previous hit Ashes, and shares the same positive vibes. Lead single Nature’s Law is classic Embrace, a big ballad with a fabulous piano hook and Danny McNamara at his emotional best, and Mickey Dale’s keyboard skills also form the basis of Celebrate, a brooding and dynamic track with some shimmering guitars and a huge chorus. The true highlight however is the stunning Target, which features some great lyrics, warm melodies and sweeping strings, and perhaps McNamara’s strongest vocal performance to date. I Can’t Come Down is a ballad with touchingly honest lyrics, and the kind of chorus that gets share prices rising in the lighter fluid industry. Beyond this, the band become much more experimental that has been witnessed in their recent history. Sainted has a grittier texture than the band usually produces, while Exploding Machines pulses to a crescendo. The End Is Near is a successful move similar to U2’s recent work, but most interesting is Even Smaller Stones. Another track that has been played live before, it’s more menacing than anything else the band has released, both lyrically and musically. It epitomizes the confidence that is now flowing through Embrace, who with this album are signally an intent to expand their sound – and judging by the tracks here, it looks as if their future is very promising.

This New Day sees the band reflecting on the success of their fourth album

Danny McNamara’s voice is constantly pushed to the edge of his range but never buckles, proving he’s not only a braver but also a better singer than he’s ever been credited for. The rest of the band meanwhile sound both super tight and super inspired – Richard McNamara’s guitar is a flammable mass (the cathartic widescreen explosion three minutes into Even Smaller Stones is extraordinary); Mickey Dale’s piano hammers out hooks like never before (Celebrate is a tour-de-force of triumphant melody). But it’s the rhythm section that elevates Embrace most here, hysteria-inducing hi-hat and dead-set drum grooves (like when the snare falls back in halfway through the instrumental break in Sainted) matched by propulsive, relentless basslines, Mike Heaton and Steve Firth forming a bedrock for the songs to evolve from rather than just helping to carry them along. After the massive success of Embrace’s comeback album Out Of Nothing the pressure was on again to deliver the goods... and it sounds like they've managed to do it again. This New Day sees the band reflecting on the success of their fourth album, which gave the band a revitalized confidence in their recording. Ultimately this is polished rock, painstakingly put together yet still managing to sound like a live stadium gig. It deserves to be a massive hit.