I am listening to this record for the third time, and about to talk about it on my music anniversaries podcast, and I’m wondering why the hell I bothered. I don’t like it, nobody requested it and it isn’t really a big deal, is it?
Sure, it has positive reviews, for some reason, but it didn’t sell that much outside of the UK, to the best of my knowledge. And does anyone accept diehard fans of this band (or britpop in general) really care about this at all? What have I done to myself?
Imagine a less muscular version of Oasis with better lyrics and better production – well, at least compared to What’s the Story – and way more strings and you get a pretty good idea of what Embrace sounds like on their debut.
Sure, McNamara doesn’t sound like Liam but the music behind him is soooooooooooo indebted to Oasis’ version of britpop it’s hard to hear anything original in Embrace’s take on it. Embrace doesn’t rely on guitar solos as much, that’s about it as far as I can figure.
I will say that McNamara is a better lyric writer than Noel, but that’s damning with faint praise. (The nice thing is I can ignore these lyrics, unlike Noel’s, which are often awful enough to notice.)
So this is a record that sounds so much like Oasis as to essentially sound like a tribute band. Oasis for me are one of the most overrated bands of the 1990s. Listening to an album that worships Oasis so much is a chore for me, as you might imagine.
But it’s well made, so I can’t say that it’s awful. But it’s not good.
PS This is a record that could only have been made in 1998 in the UK. (Or whenever the next britpop revival starts.)
All tracks written by Danny McNamara and Richard McNamara.
- “Intro” 0:46
- “All You Good Good People” 6:06
- “My Weakness Is None of Your Business” 3:17
- “Come Back to What You Know” 4:10
- “One Big Family” (Lead vocals: Richard McNamara) 4:05
- “Higher Sights” 3:44
- “Retread” 3:39
- “I Want the World” (Lead vocals: Richard McNamara) 5:44
- “You’ve Got to Say Yes” 3:42
- “Fireworks” 3:58
- “The Last Gas” 3:44
- “That’s All Changed Forever” 4:13
- “Now You’re Nobody” 4:23
- “The Good Will Out” 7:00
- Danny McNamara: vocals, writer
- Richard McNamara: guitar, backing vocals, writer
- Mick Dale: keyboards, string arrangements
- Steve Firth: bass
- Mike Heaton: drums, backing vocals
- Wil Malone: conductor, orchestration, strings