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Mixed or average reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

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  • Summary: This is the first release in eight years for the British indie rock band led by Danny McNamara.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. May 13, 2014
    Perhaps this isn't provocative but it's not meant to be: it's designed to be handsome, satisfying lifestyle rock, and it is.
  2. Apr 24, 2014
    Self-produced and melding electronic elements to their more conventional methods, this is a record by a band that has fallen in love with making music again.
  3. Apr 25, 2014
    There are occasional lapses (‘I Run’ is textbook Embrace, and thus completely forgettable), and probably too few ideas to really sustain a record, plus of course Editors have made pretty much this exact album at least twice in the last ten years, but still--it’s a hell of a rug-pull from a band long written-off, and a reminder to some of us that everything should be approached with an open mind.
  4. Apr 25, 2014
    The album hits more often than it misses. Longstanding fans will either love or loathe the more prominently electronic direction, but it’s clear that Embrace have succeeded in keeping up with the times while continuing to sound like the same band.
  5. 50
    Although 'I Run' and 'At Once' are the sort of soaring tunes they always did so well, on the whole there's no compelling answer to that initial question: why?
  6. Uncut
    Apr 24, 2014
    Gone, for the most part, are the aching ballads in favour of identikit stadium rock epics somewhere between Simple Minds and Coldplay, overlain with '90s dance beats. [May 2014, p.73]
  7. Apr 24, 2014
    Immediately accessible and vaguely uplifting, music of this kind undeniably serves a purpose, even if there's already quite a successful band out there serving said purpose already.

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. May 16, 2014
    Eight years, one month and one day.

    That's how long it's been since Embrace last released an LP and having spent the last few days
    Eight years, one month and one day.

    That's how long it's been since Embrace last released an LP and having spent the last few days listening to their self titled offering I believe it has been absolutely worth the wait.

    Over the last six months the internet and social media sites have played host to the news of teaser trailers, white aliens and secret gigs. More recently we have had an intimate Scottish tour and heard a sample of what's to come with the anthemic "Refugees" and "Follow You Home" being released as an EP and Single respectively. This pre-release hype was certainly well crafted and these ten tracks deserved every second of that measured and determined build up.

    Initially it might be easy to suggest this sounds like a less familiar or darker embrace, a band heading in a different direction. Having now listened to the album from start to finish I think the answer is far more straightforward and what we have is a band who after equal amounts of soul searching, dedication and hard work have found the exact path they had been aiming towards all along.

    This time they cemented it.

    From the word go tracks like "Protection" and "In The End" introduce us to layered synths and persuasive electro drum beats and whilst some of this might feel new the poetic, sometimes melancholic, lyrics fuelled by potent bass riffs and swirling guitars confirm that we are never too far away from a band that was very easy to fall in love with. For me, to simply recreate their previous works or to stick with a proven template may have been too easy and I certainly don't think this would have sounded so fresh and relevant as it does.

    Songs like "I Run" and "At Once" show that softer side that has always existed and still manages to ramp things up whilst "Quarters" and "Self Attack Mechanism" show how the band have grown over the last eight years and provide the heavier edge that was evident in each of their previous five albums. We get a chance to take a breath with "The Devil Looks After His Own" which I am sure will be another huge live favourite before "Thief On My Island" lulls us into a false sense of security with a haunting build up and then just properly lets go. If there was ever a way to close an album this was it, you feel exhausted and elation at the same time as the last crash of drums and squeal of guitars fade out.

    This is still the band I heard in 1997, still beautifully crafted tracks, songs that can uplift you, knock you off your feet and bring you to the brink of tears. This is an album full of lyrics that will resonate with anyone who has felt heartbreak or exhilaration, lyrics that will be posted on Facebook walls for years to come and choruses that deserve to fill stadiums and be heard by thousands.

    5 Stars

    One of the most perfect albums I have heard in the last 20 years and if the recent B-Sides are anything to go by then I have no fear for the future.

    If you can listen to these ten tracks without playing invisible drums, punching the air or getting a rush of goosebumps then maybe you need to double check your soul is still intact.

    If you don't get this then maybe you're just broken.