- Audio CD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Independiente
- ASIN: B001NV782I
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 568,531 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
This New Day
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Top customer reviews
Their lyrical abilities seemed to have improved a lot on this album (which I first noticed on Out Of Nothing), but that is not to say their earlier work was lyrically poor either. They just sound more grown up now. The same can be said of the production, which seems to be spot on. The whole record sounds very polished and slick. The group seem to be moving into a more experimental, more exciting phase of their career that first began with Out Of Nothing, which I think heralded a new direction for their music. It's easy to tell by listening to the album that this band are beginning to reap the rewards of years of playing together as a tight unit.
Another less obvious aspect of this album that I love, is the art and photography direction. Both Richard Bull and Rick Guest need to be commended for the amazing tone/style of the photography that they have created for the album. The use of flairs in the dark is stunning.
So, in essence, I would highly recommend this album, but in my opinion it's not the band's best body of work, but comes very close to the heights they scaled with their debut record.
The struggle and success of Out Of Nothing has shocked them back to life though. They said they'd never be able to make another record in the same way, Danny and Richard writing songs alone in a room for 10 hours a day, selling their possessions on eBay in order to live while Mike, Mickey and Steve took up day jobs. So they haven't. The last two tracks on Out Of Nothing were written by the band as a unit, jamming together with Youth "conducting" them until they had a song. A handful of b-sides from the Out Of Nothing singles further extended this approach, and it's how 8 out of ten of the songs on This New Day were brought to life. Most bands start out writing collaboratively and drift away from it as a dominant voice emerges, or as individual voices start pulling in different directions - think The Stone Roses, The Verve, The Beatles, Pavement, Talking Heads, Pink Floyd, Ride, Outkast - and this generally spells the beginning of the end as egos compete and the band falls apart. Embrace have moved in the opposite direction, and it's both galvanised and reinvigorated them.
The results are pretty spectacular - "Target" is one of the best, most melodic and uplifting pop songs they've ever written; lean, powerful, euphoric and begging to be a single. It gives you tingles inside the first couple of bars like when you first meet someone and instantly know they're going to be important in your life. "No Use Crying", which starts the album with a rush of adrenaline, is cut from similar cloth to "Ashes" but is faster, poppier, less desperate and arguably better for it. "Celebrate" is another post-"Ashes" pop song, incredible energy and groove but absolutely laden with melodic pop hooks in all directions - vocals, pianos, guitars, even the hyperactive hi-hat and ululating bass under the chorus.
On the other side of this new writing method is "Exploding Machines", a multi-sectioned pyrokinetic rocker caught in the midst of existential epiphany, scorched earth and event horizons obliterated with guitars. "Sainted" is a vicious, disco-pop-metal groove built on a dirty great riff that could easily be part of the DFA stable (and practically begs for a remix). It picks up on threads that seemed lost after "One Big Family" and "Save Me", toughens them up and takes them forwards. And then there's "Even Smaller Stones" - a clattering, ominous revenge-fantasy groove laced with backwards textures and nasty yowls of guitar. It's dark-hearted, snarling, and the kind of thing Embrace have been threatening to produce for nearly a decade now.
"I Can't Come Down", a McNamara/McNamara composition, is the only ballad on the album, but people will doubtless still describe it as being "typical Embrace" (they've always been far more varied and diverse than either their reputation or their peers), while the title track bridges the gap between harder tunes like "Too Many Times" (b-side to "Gravity") and the kind of anthemic surge that they've always been known for. Lead single "Nature's Law" you'll know from radio - it's a little tame compared to some of its bedfellows, but is immaculately constructed from the opening riff through to the middle-8 and final surge. The second McNamara/McNamara composition is "The End Is Near", another tune which sounds like a single-in-waiting. Deceptively simple, it builds an irresistible momentum after a beautiful piano opening, with pounding drums and streaming guitars reaching towards a distant euphoria that seems more attainable with every passing moment.
This New Day seems to iron out many of the problems that Embrace have always been victim too. It has much of the creative energy of Drawn From Memory but allies this to much stronger songs than that album managed. The energy and pace with which the album rattles along should knock several clichéd criticisms of the band into a cocked hat though. The production and mixing could be a lot less compressed and more detailed, however, and the bottom-end deeper, but that's modern mainstream rock music for you.
In the current climate of the music industry bands aren't meant to last for more than two or three albums; their first record is supposed to be their best, the follow-up a disappointment and the third, if it arrives, a desperate and hollow attempt to recapture former glories. The way marketing works with major record labels currently means that bands are pimped heavily for about three years and then left to rot unless they go through the roof. Witness Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, and the way Arctic Monkeys are being dealt with right now; sustained success and continued musical development and improvement just aren't on the cards - successful formulas are repeated to the point of tedium and unsuccessful ones are dropped. Embrace have bucked this trend - their fifth album isn't just their best, it's their freshest, most invigorated and most creative too
Whether your an Embrace fan young or old, they have released another smashing album with their very own style of soft ballads, to some hard rocking style crackers.
A couple of songs that are so-so, but I'd say 8 out of the 10 are excellent which deserves 5 stars.
Target, I can't come down, Celebrate & the single Nature's Law are the best of the bunch. Waiting for the official England football song now! Keep it up, and roll on the concert at Halifax I'm off to.
The euphoric, driven, anthemic pop songs that we've come to expect sit side-by-side with grooving rockers, bitter testimonials and beatifically forlorn ballads: No Use Crying is a rush like Ashes and then some; Target has that uncanny ability to induce palpitations within the first bar; Sainted is a hard-nosed disco classic; I Can't Come Down is the type of tune that will be used for the first dance at countless weddings in years to come. And that's just side A - on the second side of This New Day, Embrace get really interesting.
Who knows what the future holds. Two years ago people would have laughed if you'd told them what Embrace would achieve between then and now, and that includes the band themselves. But right now we have This New Day. It looks like a good one.
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