Embrace (English band)

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"Embrace (band)" redirects here. For the American band, see Embrace (American band).
Embrace playing live in Leeds in 2005
Background information
Origin Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse, England
Genres Post-Britpop, indie rock, alternative rock
Years active 1993–present
Labels Cooking Vinyl
Fierce Panda Records
Hut Records
Independiente Records
DGC Records (US)
Website http://www.embrace.co.uk
Members Danny McNamara
Richard McNamara
Steve Firth
Mike Heaton
Mickey Dale

Embrace are an English alternative rock band from Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse, West Yorkshire. To date they have released six studio albums, one singles album and one B-sides compilation. The band consists of brothers singer Danny McNamara and guitarist Richard McNamara, bassist Steve Firth, keyboardist Mickey Dale, and drummer Mike Heaton. The group have released six studio albums – The Good Will Out (1998), Drawn from Memory (2000), If You've Never Been (2001), Out of Nothing (2004), This New Day (2006) and Embrace (2014).


Origins and formation: 1990–1996[edit]

The band began in a small outbuilding at the bottom of a garden in Bailiff Bridge in 1990. A bass player joined the McNamara brothers, Richard playing guitar and Danny singing (into an upturned broomstick at the early stages). The three of them started creating songs, with the aid of a cassette recorder, and soon a drum machine was added.An initial set of songs was written, then dropped and a second set of songs written. A cassette fourtrack was used to make an initial demo in a house in the Hyde Park area of Leeds.[citation needed]

After various auditions, the drummer Mike Heaton joined the band. A period of consolidation of existing songs and writing of new ones followed. It proved hard to settle on a name, so gigs were initially performed from 1992 onwards under one off names; curious orange, christianne f, shimmer and mesmerise. Eventually playing at concerts began under the settled on name of Embrace. Richard was familiar with the American band, and thought it a good name, despite it having been used already. The bass player wrote a letter to seek approval from Ian Mackaye who replied that it was alright for the English band to use the same name, though he said that it could possibly cause some confusion. Fortunately his reply was kept, as it was later used to prevent litigation.[citation needed]

The band then recorded a three track demo in a 16 track recording studio in Huddersfield which was sold at concerts in cassette form. Also a video was recorded of a concert performed at the Duchess of York in Leeds, copies of which were similarly offered for sale. A second spell in a Manchester recording studio yielded some rough mixes, one of which was seen as good enough to be released on a cassette attached to the Leeds fanzine "The Expression She Pulled".[1] With a following in Yorkshire, Embrace then found a manager who made efforts to develop record company interest in the band, with some success, resulting in initial meetings and discussions. Things were progressing nicely towards a record contract, but there was an interruption when a live review of the band performing at Roundhay Park in Leeds at the Heineken festival in the summer of 1993 appeared in the Melody Maker, which suggested they were playing a distillation of The Chameleons, James and U2's live aid performance. Danny in particular was displeased by this and decided to stop performing live until a new set of songs was written. An intense period followed during which all 4 members developed their song and music writing abilities.[citation needed]

In 1995, Steve Firth replaced the outgoing bassist.[citation needed]

Early years: 1997–2002[edit]

A single, "All You Good Good People" was released in February 1997 on Fierce Panda Records.[2]

After building a following through their EP releases (including "Fireworks EP" and "One Big Family EP"), their debut album The Good Will Out was released on 8 June 1998 and went to number 1 in the UK Albums Chart.

On 27 March 2000 the band released Drawn from Memory, which reached number 8 in the UK Albums Chart.[3] Although the album was supported by an acclaimed tour during which they were supported by then-fledgling Coldplay, its sales were relatively low. Afterwards they recorded their third studio album If You've Never Been, which was released on 3 September 2001. The album reached number 9 in the UK chart and was once again supported by an international tour, covering Europe, US and Australia.

Although the two albums were critically acclaimed, their sales were disappointing by comparison to the first album and so the band was dropped by EMI Virgin's Hut Records in 2002.

Comeback: 2003–2006[edit]

They were signed by Andy McDonald to his Independiente Records label and produced a successful comeback album Out of Nothing, which reached number one in the UK in 2004. The 'comeback' single that preceded this album was "Gravity", which had been written by Coldplay's Chris Martin. Danny McNamara and Martin had become friends after Coldplay had supported Embrace in 2000 in Blackpool. The single was a hit, charting at number seven in the UK Singles Chart.[3] Coldplay have since recorded "Gravity" as a B-side for their single "Talk".

In October 2005, the band released their first compilation, called Dry Kids: B-Sides 1997–2005, featuring B-sides of single releases from their previous albums and including many fan-favourites such as "Blind" and a live rendition of D12's "How Come".

The band's fifth studio album, This New Day was released on 27 March 2006, with the single "Nature's Law" being released the week before. The album was seen as a 'fresh start' by the band, with a new songwriting process in place which saw the whole band contributing to the songs. Before this, the McNamara brothers had written virtually all of the band's songs themselves. This new technique saw the band at its most productive, recording twenty four songs in nine days.[4] The first single entered the charts at number two, providing them with their biggest hit. This New Day went straight into the charts at number one and became their third chart topping album in the UK.

The band played a new song live, "Heart and Soul", which was expected to appear on their sixth album. A live version of "Heart and Soul" is a B-side to "I Can't Come Down".

Danny McNamara stated that the band would not be splitting up at the Hammersmith Apollo two days later and then repeated the statement during each successive gig of their national tour.

Hiatus: 2007–2010[edit]

Although the band did not split up, through much of 2007 to 2010 there was no combined studio work and instead bandmembers focussed on solo projects.

Mickey Dale's side project Talk To Angels played CMJ in New York City in October 2008 and an Obama election night show in Austin, Texas. They appeared in 2009 at SXSW Austin, Texas for the first 'Yorkshire Showcase', at the British Music Embassy, and at Latitude.

Mike Heaton had opened his own drum school, based in Squirrel Studios, offering private drum lessons to aspiring drummers. He also mentors a number of young bands in the North Yorkshire area.

New album: 2011–present[edit]

Embrace began work on their sixth studio album in 2011.[5][6] They signed with the Cooking Vinyl label in 2013, and showcased some of their new tracks at two gigs in November and December.[7][8]

Refugees was released in January 2014 as lead single to their self-titled album which appeared in April.[9]

In other media[edit]

In March 2006, Embrace were chosen to record England's official football World Cup 2006 song, "World at Your Feet," which received its first radio airplay on 21 April 2006 on BBC Radio 1. It was released on 5 June 2006, and entered the UK Singles Chart at number 3, despite selling more copies than "Nature's Law", which made it to number 2.[10]


On Radio 1's Live Lounge, Embrace recorded a slower more melodic version of the D12 rap song "How Come". Embrace also covered Bob Dorough's "Three Is a Magic Number" on the b-side of "I Wouldn't Wanna Happen to You". The band have also made available two other 'Christmas' cover versions of the traditional song "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" and "I Believe in Father Christmas", both of which were available from the band's website.


Main article: Embrace discography
Studio albums
B-side albums


  1. ^ https://www.facebook.com/espfanzine/photos/a.212088708974152.1073741830.210733865776303/212581122258244/?type=3
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 316. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  3. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 182–183. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Facebook Page". Retrieved 5 September 2012. [unreliable source?]
  6. ^ "Embrace to return with sixth album | News". Nme.Com. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Embrace". SecretGig.com. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "√ Cooking Vinyl clasps indie rockers Embrace in new artist-services deal on". Rockol.com. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Embrace announce comeback with first new album in 7 years – Music News". Digital Spy. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Entertainment | Embrace unveil World Cup anthem". BBC News. 21 April 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 

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