The Abbey Road Sessions [#1 EP]

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After chest-pumping theatrical remarks about being "better than the Beatles at their peak," it was fitting that the members of Embrace thought they had to record a bunch of live sessions from the Liverpudlians' old studio. As usual with Embrace's early work, this limited two-part EP shows how the band's rutted talent keeps such a brass ring just out of reach. The same big swells known all too well in the mid-'90s resurgence of lighters-aloft British rock course through each and every song, although a feeling of bullish plodding ("My Weakness Is None of Your Business," "That's All Changed Forever") can't even toe the anthemic party line. Apart from the live version of "All You Good Good People," of course, which equally lifts straight from Oasis' "D'You Know What I Mean?" and obliterates its source material with a euphoric crest not repeated by the Gallaghers since around 1995. One of the few times when a 40-piece orchestra actually mattered in popular music and one of the rare moments when the McNamara brothers had the ring firmly in their grasp.

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