This is a review of "Ashes" recorded by Embrace. The review was written by Rachel Glover in 2004.
Embrace have had to put up with a lot of stick since their comeback. Apparently deemed too uncool for the likes of NME they seem to have been mocked at every possible opportunity. Yet I reckon they’re the ones laughing now. ‘Ashes’ is taken from their number one selling album and you know what? It is actually rather a good song. It is an epic piece of music, with an absolute soaring chorus displaying Danny McNamara’s voice at its finest. This song came on when I was in the shower the other day and I screeched every word at the top of my lungs cos that is exactly the kind of song it is; it wants you to sing along to it. Ok, so I may not exactly be selling it describing it as ‘singing in the shower music’ and yep there’s a part of me that knows it’s a little cheesy, but I don’t care. Featuring a constant drumbeat, a somewhat chilling piano melody and a first-class guitar sound as well as high-quality vocals, I can’t see how anyone can deny that this is a good song. So it isn’t ground breaking rock music, so what? It doesn’t have to be. The only thing that concerns me is that the sheer amount of airplay it’s getting on the likes of Radio One. Stop it, it’s just gonna ruin it!
The CD2 version of the single features ‘Flaming Red Hair’ which totally threw me the first time I heard it. It is Embrace in a totally different direction, much more electronic based. Sounding more like Primal Scream or Kasabian, this is a quality song and totally not what you expect from this band.
You also get a version of D-12’s ‘How Come’ on this format, which they covered for a recent live session for Jo Whiley. This puts across a completely different, much more sensitive side to the D-12 version. Stripped down for the majority of the song to feature just Danny’s vocals and piano with the drums only kicking in near the end, you actually get to hear the lyrics and it is definitely worth a listen.
So, whilst they may be getting too old to wear the oh-so-cool, tighter-than-tight jeans which seem to be obligatory uniform for any good band at the moment, Embrace refuse to fit into the mould and yet still deliver a CD worth buying and good on ‘em I say.