Pop music: A spiced-up supernova

Who do you think you are? Oasis? No, say Embrace. They're better than that.

IT'S 18 months since Embrace offered up the slogan "Better Than Oasis" to the music press after a gig in front of 100 people resulted in a deal with Hut in the UK and Geffen in the States, a three-night residency at London's ICA and a mud-thwarted non-appearance at Glastonbury. They crashed on to the scene with an impact that marked them out as a kind of (male) indie Spice Girls. Embrace could have grabbed the invite to Next Big Thing bash, left a hastily-recorded debut album with the butler and picked up on every lucrative offer thrown at them. Instead, they bided their time and released three EPs as calling cards and refused a request for one of their songs to be the soundtrack for a tabloid advert.

A year and a half after being signed, they have come out of Yorkshire with their debut album, The Good Will Out, which went straight to No 1. Rather than a Soho studio, their address is a Huddersfield community centre. Forget cocaine: they are more likely to be found doing pub quizzes.

"We sort of got lead into saying all those statements about being better than Oasis by people with their own agendas," says Danny McNamara, the band's vocalist and guitarist. "We were naive." He says they needed to square up to the criticism and improve their technical skills. "People really love this band and they stick up for us. They forget that we are new, and compare us with stadium rock bands. Just because we have written good songs, that doesn't mean this is going to be the best we can ever do."

Rather than the Verve and Oasis comparisons that greeted them ("the similarities are cosmetic," says McNamara), James Brown, Otis Redding and Nirvana are more telling inspirations. The influences can be seen in an album which reaches for melodic House of Love, begs the guitar licks and riffs from Stone Roses' funk and has Aretha Franklin's soul sewn into each song as if Embrace discovered a pipe that pumps emotion from the heart.

"We kind of just go for something that is really uplifting," says McNamara. "We try for a strong melody - one where you get to the end and feel better. If you are writing from the heart and not from the head, you just let it come out. It does work on a cerebral level, but I think it is more visceral. We don't analyse it much."

Their current EP, "Come Back To What You Know", balances instinctive feel-good lyrics with a tight leash on its cliches. This ingenuity runs through The Good Will Out as it rubs muscle-to-muscle rock ("All You Good Good People", "One Big Family", "The Last Gas") and head-to-head serenades ("Fireworks", "Retread", "Now You're Nobody"). "All You Good Good People", for example, works as a terrace anthem, but was in fact written about a relationship breakup. Embrace are more the subject of dispute than definitive statements. "It's like the Bible," is typical grandiloquence which has been misinterpreted as arrogance. It's only to point out the songs are open to interpretation.

If you want to pretend Embrace are a Brit Pop parallel to the Spice Girls, - and the media certainly have treated them like that - here is the Easy Guide. Mike "Sweet" Heaton, on guitars, says: "You can't complain about being compared to two of the best bands in the UK." Steven "Shy" Frith, bass, says nothing. Danny "Chatterer" McNamara, vocals and guitar: "If you are describing a colour like dark blue, you can't do it without comparing it to blue and black. Music is abstract like that." And Richard "Minx" McNamara: "Big ideas? I wanted to be a superhero last week."

`The Good Will Out' is on Hut/Virgin Records

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border