Not all Britpop is dead, but while Embrace’s latest, Out of Nothing, is worthy of a listen, it’s not up to par with recent UK transplants such as Keane or Bloc Party. The more unique aspects of Embrace are too scattered. At first their sound is that of Coldplay, heavy on the Arcade Fire, with a dash of twang to taste. But, sadly, that tasty sound isn’t maintained throughout the entire album.While their music immediately sounds like something played in the background of Empire Records, Embrace’s vocals seem to come straight out of modern day Nashville. And the harmonica touches, as heard on “Wish Em All Away,” are perfectly placed.
The lyrics on Out of Nothing are smart, but the delivery is often plodding. This creates an unusual tug of war between grading the album at extremely worthy listening status, or just another Britpop casualty. “Looking As You Are” recounts the evil traits of an otherwise beautiful lover. It opens with the pointed line “I told the Devil and the deep blue sea to hide/I thought that you were after them/I was right.”
Embrace’s catchiest songs are their shorter ones (most tip the scales at more than five minutes – UK Pop fans must have longer attention spans.) And their more depressing tunes just aren’t pulled off as well as the lighter fare.
Out of Nothing is an expertly written but only moderately well played album from a band that has aged well overall. A few more country touches and the music of Embrace would reach truly eclectic levels. Give them a listen anyway.