An eight year hiatus and 500 songs later, Embrace are following the mantra of one of their first hits Come Back to What You Know, as they embark on their return to the music scene.
With three number one albums, six top ten singles, sold out arena shows, over 2.5 million record sales and their last record achieving both number one album and number two single, Embrace were on the crest of a wave when they suddenly vanished without a trace in 2006.
But now they are back with a new album conveying a more raw and darker sound whilst still keeping their signature anthems and huge choruses.
It has been a long time in the making but singer and guitarist Richard McNamara said it has been worth the wait, and the five-piece made up of brother Danny, bassist Steve Firth, keyboardist Mickey Dale and drummer Mike Heaton were thrilled with the response they have had since their return.
“We are really chuffed with it. It was a bit of a surprise and you always hope for it to be amazing but we certainly haven’t been disappointed,” says Richard.
“We’ve had a great response from the press, radio and from music insiders
“All the band is looking forward to the year ahead.”
Already scheduled is a tour of Scotland this month and talks are still ongoing about a possible tour in the area and music festivals.
In the build up to the announcement of their comeback, they played secret gigs, a renowned feature of the band, in Bradford and at Halifax Amateur Boxing Club with the audience dressed in white boiler suits and covered in neon paint. Though the shows were strictly secret, fan forums went into meltdown with both shows selling out in minutes and fans flying in to see the band from as far as Australia and Japan.
Support on social media sites, in the build up of the return and positive reviews of the new single, has made the hard work of planning the gigs worthwhile.
“The fans have been proactive and there is a strong core fan base who go above and beyond,” said the former Hipperholme Grammar School pupil.
“The flash mob in Halifax town centre was one of those things that they came up with themselves.
“The secret gigs went really well as we put a lot of effort and planning into them.
“It has been a feature of the band to play intimate gigs like this.
“We also did a DJ set afterwards and spent time mingling with the fans which was great.
“It was good to get back to our roots and play in front of fans so they could feel our breath on them and see the white in our eyes.”
From starting in a garden shed in Bailiff Bridge, the band scored huge hits with Gravity, written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Ashes, Nature’s Law and were chosen to record England’s official football World Cup 2006 song, World at Your Feet.
However, the aim of their latest work was to come back stronger and to rival their first album The Good Will Out.
The first release from their self titled sixth album will be the single ‘Refugees’ which will be released as part of a four-track EP on February 17, giving fans a taster of the new record with three brand new songs not featured on the new album.
Richard wrote and produced the song and admitted it wasn’t easy to find the other material for the album from the hundreds they had written in their studio in Halifax.
“It is part of the process that for every song you write there will be 20 before it, until you reach the end point of the knife so to speak,” he said.
“We were not going to finish until we had pushed that bar to where we wanted it to be and Refugees came on really well and is the second song on the album.
“We then realised that set the bar for all the other songs.
“There were a few arguments about it, like wanting to change or add bits in like Danny’s vocals at the end, but I dug my heels in.
“Listening back to the demo there have been few tweaks but we are all happy about it.
“The last album we did felt like there was a lot of running around and getting it finished but now we feel like we have got it all under control again and have got back to what we do best.”