Embrace, Love Is A Basic Need - album review

By Leigh Sanders | Entertainment | Published:

It's 14 years since Embrace released Gravity - the piano-led hit that dominated the radio waves and music channels for seemingly forever.

Since then, one pretty lame World Cup anthem in 2006 aside, you might be pretty hard pressed to pluck too many major events from memory.

But that doesn't mean they've been inactive. In fact, 2006's This New Day brought huge single successes for the five-piece, including that World Cup song. They've been chugging along pretty nicely, releasing the kind of soft rock that garnishes rom com soundtracks or adverts centred around uplifting stories.

For an example, chuck this record on and jump straight to track number two - Never. A duet with the wonderfully-voiced female singer Kerri Watt it hides a dark twist underneath those kind of progressive choruses that have served Mumford & Sons so well.

Their material is pretty steady, and this takes a softer, more vulnerable turn than on their sixth and self-titled record in 2014.

Wake Up Call is another lighter approach to the rock ballad, sounding like an early-career Coldplay song with the acoustics at the fore. Those big sing-along choruses are clearly the group's aim here.

Recorded themselves in their own Magnetic North Studio in Halifax and produced by guitarist Richard McNamara, it is very much their own work. And it probably benefits from it. The lack of outside influence and dictation means they can make it as true to themselves as possible.

But what that also means is it can often wallow in those deep and emotional depths like in Snake Oil. It's morbid in fact, but with a strange uplift through those jangling guitars which open up for the big vocal moments.

The speed never really leaves first gear, so it is more for those who enjoy their soft Sunday drives in the sunshine rather than the roof down smashing 90mph on a mountain pass.


This stops its rating shooting into the higher echelons as well as the speed dial. Those who find the likes of Interpol or Editors too morose to listen to for long will probably feel the same here. One uplifting ballad can do its trick, 10 is slight overkill.

Rating: 6/10

Embrace bring their latest tour to Birmingham's O2 Institute on on April 5

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at


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