Embrace - Preston Guild Hall - 15.04.06

Embrace ended last year on a career high, following an Arena Tour, but on the Manchester leg of it, singer Danny McNamara admitted that it took a little while for them to get the technicalities right and to get into the feel of things. However, tonight, with help from opener and surely to be a future single? ‘No Use Crying’, extracted from their latest album ‘This New Day’, they immediately settled into a comforting groove. This epitomises Embrace’s positive outlook through tough times and is, as you might have guessed, soaked in melody and meandering vocals. Previous single ‘Natures Law’ takes on new life in a live setting, possessing an almost psychedelic feel and continues to display the confidence that the band has in their new material.

The Idelwild-esque ‘Looking As You Are’, is performed with a longing touch that is highlighted in the cushioning percussion of Mike Heaton. The sincere and down to earth, Danny McNamara displayed amazement at the band’s rocketing, recent rise that has been topped off by their selection to record the forthcoming England World Cup song. That was the last we heard about that feat, it was a noticeable omission from the set list. Maybe they thought it was enough of a treat for the crowd to witness what is now an intimate gig for Embrace. 'Gravity' kept the middle of the set on a high, making it easy for the band to take off later on, with the poetically uplifting ‘Ashes’ taking on more meaning and power with each live show. ‘The Good Will Out’ has an increasing autobiographical vein and instigated a heartfelt sing-a-long. With a potentially momentous Forest Tour and their voices accompanying the England team passed more obstacles than a Krypton Factor contestant in Germany, it is all set up to be a sizzling summer for the melody crafting Yorkshire men.

David Adair

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