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Delirious With Weird

 
Monday, July 19, 2004  
Seven Years?!

 
It’s always been about movement, you see, onwards and upwards and never stopping.  Just go back to that first song, the one that convinced them it was worth bothering with – “my girl is just a retread / I lost her when I hit the brakes” – as soon as you try to stop, try and halt momentum, things fuck up, things break.  What’s a retread?  A tyre that’s been used before.  Hit the brakes too hard when you’re moving too fast, try and regain control, and it explodes.  When you’re moving that fast you have to let go, ride with it, trust your- your what?  Instinct?  Soul?  Fuck it.  Yeah.  That’s why “Come Back…” didn’t work, because it was a lie, it was about stopping, returning.  If you turn away you can’t turn back.  That whole first record did it but did it wrong, it was all fucked up, and then the second went for something else entirely and did it properly but by then nobody cared, except us.
 
Yesterday I went walking, and on the way out I saw a fat couple on the seafront, and the man was holding the woman’s hand up to his face and kissing her chubby fingers.  It’s fair to say they’d never grace the cover of a magazine, but for that instant they were making each other beautiful.  I smiled.
 
I’ve been waiting more than seven years for this record.  The day it arrived I took the afternoon off and raced home.  I closed the door and put it on and inside three minutes I was sobbing.  Not crying; sobbing.  Big, gulping convulsions rippling up from my guts and through my chest, coming out of my eyes and mouth.  And not because this is a down record, far fucking from it.  I was sobbing with relief.  Sometimes it’s been so fucking hard being a fan of this band, seeing other people take the piss, write off what they are.  Every time someone said they were shit it fucking hurt, and by 2002 I was spent, completely and utterly spent.  I couldn’t deal with it anymore so I walked away.  The time and effort and care and love invested in this band just doesn’t stand thinking about.  Fuck knows how they must feel themselves.  I always hoped they had it in them, believed, I had to believe, because what else is there otherwise?  But I always knew they’d never done it.  No one can deny it now.  It’s impossible.
 
Seven years.  Fucking hell.  This record is a huge vindication.  I was right, you were wrong, fuck off now, go away, leave me alone.  Everyone else can go home again, they were never needed, never wanted, didn’t fill the void.
 
It’s a record about a record, about all the songs that came before it, about it’s own gestation which isn’t just three years or even seven years or even ten, but thirty and then some and then some more.  All my years plus all your years plus all their years = centuries.  “Glorious Day” might be about a girl or it might be about a song but it’s actually about Youth (Youth I kiss you, I write you love letters thanking you for smashing this band into tiny pieces, breaking their backs and shattering their spirits and seeing the pieces coalesce into what they always should have been).  “Ashes” isn’t about… whatever you think it’s about.  It’s about everyone who ever said they couldn’t do it, everyone who beat them down and fucked them over; it’s about itself.  It makes me cry.  It makes me cry and it’s a four-to-the-floor, four-minute fast-as-fuck piece of upwards dynamism, not some pussy weepy ballad shit.  It makes me cry because it’s so fucking good.  “Someday” had me sobbing on the train at half past seven.  There’s a moment, in between the gospel mayhem, when everything dips out, and someone, maybe that singer, says “… [yeah]!” and the gospel mayhem cuts back in with ruthless, joyous abandon, and all those promises about feeling ten feet tall are fulfilled.  “Near Life” is the band spiral, the conviction, the verge of breaking through, the sonic overload, widescreen and technicolour and composed entirely of abstracted shots of the sea, of the moors, and you realise that in the distance, on the verge of the horizon, tiny people are moving, tossed about by the waves, waving not drowning.  The last thirty seconds of “Out of Nothing” sounds like Fennesz for heaven’s sake.  Attention to detail.  Enormous detail.
 
The thing is, and I think this is why I keep sobbing, that it’s over now.  It’s like supporting a shit football team your whole life, going to every game, loving them, seeing them do amazing things in training and willing them to do it on the pitch but they never quite do, they just do OK, promotion one year, struggle with relegation the next, innocuous mid table nothingness after that.  And then they go and win the FA Cup.  What the fuck?!  And after that you can’t ever go back.  They could win the league the next season and the season after that too and every other fucking season for ever but it will never mean as much as it did to win that first FA Cup, to first break out, that unbearable release after all the struggle.  You can’t ever go back.  And you know, everyone’s going to want a piece of them in a few months.  They don’t do fame very well.  They’re not a young band.  I think one more record (and when I say ‘I’, I mean ‘we’), done quickly maybe, most of the songs are written I gather (they always were, in their heads and hearts, in my mind’s eye), and then who knows what happens next.  But for now they’ve done it, and for the next two months we can relax and enjoy, because after that everything is going to be different.
 
I’m not sure there’s much left to say.  At the moment.  But there will be.  And fucking lots of it.


NJS

7/19/2004 11:12:00 am

10 Comments:

Blogger HOLT - 1:13 pm

I'm so excited now...

Fucking brilliant. If the rest of the album blows gravity away it must be terrific. Let's watch them go big and enjoy it.

John

 
Blogger Nick - 1:26 pm

Gravity is the biggest fucking Trojan horse ever. Brad Pitt has nothing on Embrace. Danny told me about "Someday" to my face 7 years ago, said it was the best song they would ever write and they just needed a chorus. They did it.

 
Blogger Mike Sowa - 3:22 pm

Hey Nick....

Very interesting read... Good to see you still the Mr Kipling of writing....

I havn't heard the new Album yet (Am waiting for the official release this time around...) But is Someday a renamed "Effortless Now"? That seems to be in my head for some reason.....

 
Blogger Nick - 3:55 pm

"Someday" is not "Effortless Now" and bares no resemblance to it. I dunno what happened to EN.

 
Anonymous Anonymous - 6:08 pm

Nick you have just proved to me why you are a fucking nob head and why everyone else thinks you are too after reading that load of shit.Also how come you got a promo of the new album

 
Blogger Nick - 6:24 pm

Might be because I'M A FUCKING MUSIC JOURNALIST you pathetic little shithead.

 
Anonymous Anonymous - 7:35 pm

Fuck, Nick.

Of course, I'm glad you're back on board. Embrace fans need someone like yourself to articulate what the songs mean, what we fucking feel when we listen to them.

But you know what, now I'm excited. I really am. Despite the quality of the songs of IYNB, it didn't feel like a complete record at all.

Now, you seem to be promising OON is more than the sum of its parts.

Christ. When does this get released?

Yours-in-still-learning-how-to-speak-English

Chris.

 
Blogger Nick - 8:04 pm

I'm sorry, I don't understand what you just wrote. Can you write it again, in English? (Second week of September, mate. Be excited.)

 
Blogger Ian - 6:43 am

That clears up the 7 years bit - what about the chiropractor?

 
Blogger Nick - 8:32 am

Read the thing about the stag do and my pelvis / consistent back troubles!

 

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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com


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