Embrace

Embrace

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Embrace took an extended sojourn after the release of their 2006 album This New Day, not returning to action until 2014, when they released their eponymous sixth album. Embrace doesn't necessarily embrace the shifting fashions of the last half decade or so but rather settles into the group's middle age, with the bandmembers clearly enjoying how they no longer need to try as hard. Once seen as a mini-Oasis, Embrace are now clearly part of the sober-rock lineage spawned by Radiohead and Coldplay; they favor sonic skyscrapers, their sighed melodies competing for space with guitars chiming so strongly they could easily be mistaken for keyboards. Embrace has melodies but it's never hooky, it's insistent without being visceral; it's atmosphere as muscle, the spaciness seeming sinewy because the band pushes it so hard. This is where Embrace's happy acknowledgment of their advancing age makes a difference. Never once are Embrace striving to appeal to a new audience or recapture their youth; they're simply trading in the sounds they love, whether it's icy synthesizers learned from Echo & the Bunnymen, echoed vistas borrowed from U2, or a savvy reliance on classy, high thread-count AAA pop pioneered by Chris Martin. Perhaps this isn't provocative but it's not meant to be: it's designed to be handsome, satisfying lifestyle rock, and it is.

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