Embrace - Embrace

by Dan Clay Rating:7 Release Date:2014-04-28

Returning after an eight year hiatus, West Yorkshire’s finest stormed back with their soaring Refugees EP earlier in the spring. Following it up with a full album, are the Brighouse boys able to conjure more creativity with their songs than the time spent thinking up the title?

Keen to ensure the ‘new direction’ tag – think Reverend and the Makers crossed with Chicane – is signposted early on, things kick off well with ‘Protection’, a solid but less melodic opener than you might expect. Thankfully, things soon hit their stride with the anthemic ‘In the End’ and ‘Refugees’, the latter showcasing Danny McNamara’s falsetto tuning while the former, one of the strongest tracks on the album, is sure to become a fan favourite.

Elsewhere, the likes of ‘I Run’ and ‘At Once’ sound like they could have come from a previous long-player, belying the new direction suggested by ‘Refugees’ more dance-infused beats. However, ‘Follow You Home’ (the next single), ‘Quarters’ and ‘Self-Attack Mechanism’ keep that vein running strong throughout the album before proceedings close with the epic-reaching ‘The Devil Looks After His Own’ and ‘Thief on My Own Island’, both fine but a little over-stretched, making you wonder what kept fabulous b-side

off the track-listing.

So - not quite the game-changer hinted at by ‘Refugees’ genuinely intriguing musical premise but at least the ballads are kept to a minimum and the band, so often at the centre of a comeback, have they’ve rejuvenated their sound with potentially powerful results to come. That’s worth an embrace.

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