REVIEW: Embrace, Preston Guild Hall

If live music is a drug, Danny McNamara is an addict.

Arms aloft, bellowing like his life depends on it, he is intoxicated by the thrill of performing even to just the 500 or so squeezed into the LiVe venue at the Guild Hall.

The first night of a short tour to signal the starting gun for their seventh studio album, McNamara and the rest of Embrace revelled in the spotlight that some thought may have been gone for good.

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They started with a new one - Wake Up Call - from upcoming album Love Is A Basic Need before lurching into crowd favourite All You Good Good People, which sounded as fresh as it did when it was released 20 years ago.

They rattle off the hits - Come Back To What You Know, Nature’s Law, Follow You Home with a welcome Wonder thrown in too - before a thrilling finale of Gravity and Ashes.

We are given five airings from the new album - Never the stand-out with Danny accompanied on stage by golden-voiced singer Eevah - that suggest the hype may be worth it.

That said the new album title track still failed to ignite despite being a setlist regular for the last few tours.

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But the highlight was Refugees, the underrated thumping first single from their eponymous 2014 album, brother Richard’s finest hour.

On the eve of Bonfire Night, we are treated to Fireworks during the encore before the night concludes with the only way they know how - a mass singalong to The Good Will Out, the track Danny acclaims as “this is what Embrace is all about”.

They’ve been written off many times before but you imagine such intimate settings will soon be just a memory once again.

Seventeen songs packed into 90 minutes for £20. Welcome back, lads.


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