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Embrace: Embrace (Cooking Vinyl)

With three number one albums to their credit, Yorkshire rockers Embrace did well out of the post-Britpop demand for singalong anthems and orchestrally-augmented plodders.

Indeed, early single All You Good Good People couldn't have aped the Oasis songbook more closely had it slipped on a Man City top and grown a monobrow. Eight years have passed since their last long-player, and you'd be hard-pushed to argue modern music has been lacking during their absence. Nor is it improved by their return.

Most self-titled albums that do not mark a debut carry a whiff of last-ditch this-is-really-us desperation and, while this sixth studio effort might herald a new and darker chapter in the McNamara brothers' musical relationship, there's a suspicion that, if you strip away the prominent production treatments, the tunes aren't as strong as they once were.

For all its electro fizz, opening track Protection can't decide if it's Depeche Mode or Kasabian, while Refugees features a mid-section breakdown New Order would have rejected out of hand (but Keane seized on in the hope of indie credibility). Follow You Home is admittedly more pop-friendly, but relies on one of those elusively familiar melodies that the defective Shazam app in your brain is convinced it has heard before.

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