Origins and formation: 1990–96
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.
After various auditions, 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 they settled on the name 'Embrace'. Richard was familiar with the American band of the same name, 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.
The band then recorded a three track demo in a recording studio in Huddersfield, which was sold at concerts in cassette form. A video was recorded of a gig in Leeds, copies of which were 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". With a following established 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. An intense period followed during in which all four members developed their song and music writing abilities.
In 1995, Steve Firth replaced the outgoing bassist.
Early years: 1997–2002
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. Although the album was supported by a 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, and the US
They were signed by Andy McDonald to his Independiente Records label and released the 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. 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
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 saw the whole band contributing to the songs. Before this, the McNamara brothers had written virtually all of the band's songs themselves. The band recording twenty four songs in nine days. 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 "Heart and Soul" live, 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".
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.
Throughout 2007 to 2010 there was no combined studio work and instead band members focused on solo projects.
Embrace and Love Is a Basic Need: 2013–present
After three years of writing new material for their sixth studio album, the band began production on the album in August 2013. Richard McNamara wrote on the band's Facebook page on 12 August 2013 announcing their return to the studio, seven years after the release of This New Day. They signed with the Cooking Vinyl label in 2013, and showcased some of their new tracks at two gigs in November and December."Refugees" was released in January 2014 as the lead single to their self-titled album, which appeared in April.
Embrace's seventh album, Love Is a Basic Need, was released on 2 March 2018. Love Is a Basic Need was recorded in the first half of 2017 at the band's own Magnetic North Studio, produced by Richard McNamara. The album's overriding theme is one surrounding love: "Most people remember to eat, breathe and drink, but too many of us forget about love until it’s too late. The album is about the realisation that without food or water or shelter you die, but the same is also true of love. We set out to make an album where every song on it would stand up against the best songs we’ve ever written, and I’m pretty confident we’ve done just that.", said Danny McNamara.
In 2018, Firth and Heaton co-formed the punk rock band Land Sharks.
Embrace will be celebrating the coming of age of their beloved debut album with a very special 21st anniversary tour, including a prestigious date at London’s Roundhouse (a first for the band), playing the album in full together with a few other hits and live favourites.
Released in 1998, The Good Will Out became one of the fastest selling debut albums by a British artist, certified Gold on day of release and charting at number 1 in the UK album chart. The album achieved Platinum status in the year of release and has gone on to sell over half a million copies in the UK alone.
The album spawned three Top 10 singles, ‘All You Good Good People’, ‘Come Back To What You Know’ and ‘My Weakness Is None Of Your Business’ together with two other Top 40 hits, ‘One Big Family’ and ‘Fireworks’.
Critically acclaimed across the board, NME said of the album “It’s hard to think of any other contemporary group who could match the emotional clarity and wavering romance which pierce the spine of these songs” declaring The Good Will Out “one of the great debut albums of the past decade.”
Danny says of the tour “I don’t think any of us could have guessed 21 years ago when we released The Good Will Out what an incredible rollercoaster ride it was going to be. A lot has happened in that time, but the songs on that album mean more to me now than they ever have. They were life changing songs for me, literally, and to be allowed to celebrate them after all this time is a real honour and a privilege.”
2. All You Good Good People
3. My Weakness Is None Of Your Business
4. Come Back To What You Know
5. One Big Family
6. Higher Sights
8. I Want The World
9. You've Got To Say Yes
11. The Last gas
12. That's All Changed Forever
13. Now You're Nobody
14. The Good Will Out
Thanks to Shawry1889
Thanks to Brits & Pieces
Thanks to Brits & Pieces
Thanks to Brits & Pieces
Thanks to Brits & Pieces