Embrace – Love is a Basic Need // Album Review

“20 years into their recording career, Embrace have returned with their seventh studio album “Love is a Basic Need”. With three previous Number One albums, six Top 10 singles, sold out arena shows and over two million album sales behind them, Embrace returned  three years ago with their Top 5 self-titled LP. Already hailed as a return to classic Embrace, the new album was recorded in 2017 at their own Magnetic North Studio and produced by the band’s Richard McNamara.”

Embrace are the typical British band from the late 90s/early 2000s. They burst onto the scene with one of the best albums of all time “The Good Will Out” and followed that record up with two number 1 records in the early part of the last decade. Since 2006 though, the band have struggled to top that of their early work, much like Razorlight and the Kaiser Chiefs to name just two. Having seen the band live twice, it’s clear to see that they’re a band with troubles but those troubles have finally been channelled into something that’s worthy of the quality they once were. Their brand new album “Love is a Basic Need”, their seventh studio LP is a return to form, a return to what we know and love about Embrace, it’s nothing short of a triumph.

Following on from their eponymous record in 2014, an album where the band tried to rethink their sound, quite unsuccessfully, “Love is a Basic Need” kicks off where “This New Day” should have. Opener “The Finish Line” is a mellow effort that sets the tone for the entire record. Playing into the strengths of Danny McNamara’s vocal rather than stretching it like many of the tracks on the previous record, the song provides the perfect start to the comeback Embrace have been longing for.

With guest vocals from Kerri Watt, “Never” offers something very different to the album opener. Whilst not overly into male/female duets, the song is something of a magical moment, it’s a shame it happens so early on in the record. The album traverses through a set of well considered, heartfelt tracks and although many would rightly argue the record is very flat in nature; this isn’t wholly a negative point. Embrace made a career out of one sound and that sound is the one that runs through the entirety of “Love is a Basic Need”, playing to their strengths wonderfully.

Title track and album closer Love is a Basic Need, is without doubt, the record standout and no doubt will be the live highlight when Embrace’s tour comes around in April. At just over 6 and a half minutes long, the band cover every sound, every note that has made their career in one epic track. Unlike Wake Up Call and Rabbit Hole which are fairly forgettable, this song leaves a lasting mark in the way Ashes and Nature’s Law used to.  Couple this with All That Remains, another stereotypical, epic Embrace classic and you have the two tracks that will remain on Embrace setlists for years to come.

There were parts of me that were hoping Embrace would give the electric sounding stuff another go as there were some clear highlights from album six, but having heard Love is a Basic Need several times now, it’s good to have the Yorkshire lads back on form, and back making killer music. No, Embrace’s will never light the way for bands of the future, hence why Mike Heaton and others have turned their spare time to supporting up and coming bands; but they’re a band for now, one to treasure and support. They’re the England football team of the British music industry, they’ll never quite reach their true potential for one reason or another; but just this time, they may have won over some new fans and brought back those who loved them over 10 years ago and that’s something that they should be extremely proud of.


Wed 28 Glasgow O2 Academy
Thu 29 Newcastle Northumbria University
Fri 30 Nottingham Rock City
Sat 31 Manchester O2 Ritz
Sun 01 Cardiff Tramshed
Mon 02 Southampton Engine Room
Wed 04 Norwich Epic
Thu 05 Birmingham O2 Institute
Fri 06 London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Sat 07 Leeds O2 Academy

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