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Wednesday, May 18, 2005  
Once again back is the incredible...
Because you asked for it, for some reason.



The Enormous Embrace Exercise

Or; reasons to be woeful

Or; the most misunderstood band in the world

Or; what the fuck were you thinking, N1ck S0uth@ll?

Or; shut the fuck up and listen to my song

Or; a song-by-song directory and exegesis of my in-and-out-of-love affair with The Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band On Acid



How the hell does one even begin to do this? To distil seven years of love, antipathy, excitement, disappointment, idiocy, gigs, travelling, psychosis, drink, tears, people, shouting, singing, falling over in Irish theme pubs, starting fights (nearly) in Wolverhampton and, most importantly, songs, into mere words on a page? Well, if it’s good enough for a depressive Beatles fan then it’s good enough for me. Embrace are better than The Beatles anyway, The Beatles never used a kazoo. I can prove this by SCIENCE.

Song-by-song, eh? It’s a big job. It’s pretty stupid. You’ll be revealing precisely where you stand on EVERYTHING here and you might upset people.

Oh well.

You have to understand that I’m not one of these people who unquestioningly likes every song in any given artist’s catalogue (you know who you are, you fucking fools – what’s the point in it?), and, when it comes to Embrace, there are probably as many songs that I dislike as there are ones I love. How could it be any other way? I’m in an almost unique position regarding this band; it wasn’t by accident that I ended up sitting on that fucking train station platform (I drove to that gig!) answering benign questions and talking shit (stop me if I’m wrong, stop me if I’m wrong). “N1ck S0uth@ll; professional Embrace fan” – well I actually fucking am now, now that I’ve taken their (new) record company’s coin (in a roundabout way [on the verge of indecision]) in exchange for seven years of built-up stuffness in my brain, congested into no less than 7x400 and 3x1000 words. Well, that was for money; this is for love, such as it is.

Take into consideration that this has been written both in a single day and over the course of seven years – these are thoughts as held in my head RIGHT NOW and I reserve the right to change my mind at any given second of any given day, ever and ever, amen.

(In the order they were released, dealing with each song once in the case of things released multiple times.)

Song… by… bleedin’… song… here goes…

All You Good Good People
NME live review, London Oxford Street 100 Club, January 1997; looking for the new Stone Roses, blah blah yadda yadda, you know the drill; “the width and whoosh of The Verve” etcetera. The Fierce Panda version is, frankly, pretty lousy; Danny’s lost his keys and it’s as muddy as all fuck. But there’s a stateliness and an ambition apparent. And, you know, they kept comparing it to Barry Manilow, and that’s cool. The best version is the album cut, produced by Youth – it’s faster, livelier, there are more guitars – but even that never caught what it was like live. Fucking hell – the noise, especially at the end when Rick would spiral off into nowhere, jumping around and squalling reels of sonic shit out of his instrument; it was absolutely awesome, but they never caught that rigidity-devolving-into-chaos properly on record. It still sounds like rolling back into home in a beaten-up old car after a long time away, though.

My Weakness Is None Of Your Business
The Fierce Panda version of this was even more muddy and unsure and off-key than AYGGP, if possible. But at the same time it was absolutely glorious watching this wretched little thing unfurl into something so desperate to be beautiful, so vainglorious and pleading. By the time they redid it for the album it was too solid and workmanlike, almost, the fragility and, haha, weakness had almost been worked out of it. Overdubs are bad, kid. Like much of the really early stuff, it was badly realised on record, which is a shame, cos the seed is beautiful.

The Last Gas
This is more like it. Turbo-shoegazing! And more NOISE! Sheets of the stuff, and nonsensical lyrics, all held down by a clumsy, slow, malevolent groove, clattering and bashing. The video was so exciting; crap, but exciting! The band crashed a party, or something. I always used to segue from this to “This Is Music” by The Verve on mixtapes. The guitar solo is like being punched in the face or an electric shock. Parts were rerecorded for the album, the vocal cleaned-up and the synth-trumpets got rid of; both decisions, in my oh-so-humble opinion, a mistake, because it lessened the NOISE.

Now You’re Nobody
They’ve still never done anything else which sounds quite like this. It shifts and floats with an assured delicacy just wasn’t evident anywhere else in Embrace’s music. I can’t remember whether I read it or hypothesised it myself, but the way Embrace’s (early) songs were put together almost seemed as if they’d deconstructed the very building blocks of how to write a song and put them back together again from the bottom up. At it’s best this manifested itself in a sense of craftsmanship and instant familiarity that was both comforting and made the songs seem incredibly strongly focused. At it’s worst it was like the songs were built of Lego and you could see all the joins. Or I could, anyway. I never felt as ‘located’ within a song as I did with certain early Embrace songs, and I’m still not entirely sure how this affects me; I like being ‘lost’. During the calamitous periods of university and such they gave me a bedrock to cling on to, but if all a song is useful for is getting you through the bad times (and it wasn’t the stereotypically weepy numbers I was clinging to) how are you ever going to listen to it after you’ve got through to the other side? The music needs to have it’s own worth outside of your associations with it. The inability of most Embrace fans you encounter on their messageboard to disassociate their affections and memories from the songs (and this happens a lot with ‘indie’ fans in general) pisses me off because it demeans the art by reducing it to a painkiller, to a subjective beta blocker; “this only has worth when I am in pain; only has worth because I have pain”, and that is, I believe, selfish and wrong.

This doesn’t feel as if it’s made of Lego at all. It doesn’t feel like a song in the way that, say, AYGGP does - “this is the end of the verse; this is the start of the chorus; this is the blah blah yadda yadda” – I never got that with “Now You’re Nobody”, and that sense of topographical dislocation within the actual song was great, because the destination and momentum of the song becomes unimportant, and all that matters is the point of impact of each second on your eardrums, as the sound waves touch the hairs that sense the vibrations and turn it into information in your brain, with no sense of expectation or history, no past or present, just how the song makes you feel now. And that’s why I love “Now You’re Nobody”; because it sounds beautiful now.

Blind
Whereas this is just overload. Rumour has it (and rumour is true, I know cos I’ve been told) that Johnny Dollar made them record it in the wrong order; verse-chorus-verse-chorus-shoutyguitar, when it was meant to be verse-verse-chorus-shoutyguitar-chorus, because “you can’t do a song in that order”. In return for this they blew his eardrums and gave him tinnitus. SUCKS! “Blind” actually finds the middle ground between Oasis, The Pixies and MBV by overloading on guitars and shouting. JD’s production may be in the wrong order, but it sounds absolutely fucking fantastic, especially during the middle section when Rick’s guitar slips from speaker to speaker with wilful, noisy abandon. Also Steve’s bassline starts like a motorbike revving, which is a great thing to sound like. They rerecorded it for the American release, in the right order, but the sheer weight of guitars was gone. I remember one Radio 1 live thing (probably April 1997) when, during the climax of this song, the broadcast cut out for a coupe of seconds. “Blind” – Too Loud For The BBC!

Fireworks
This is weightless and delicate and came out BEFORE “The Drugs Don’t Work” which is the same song with flashier guitar. Supposedly someone in the band who plays guitar and had dreadlocks for a while doesn’t like this song much because it’s “boring”. I’ve got nothing to say about it, really. It’s lovely, but I’m not the same person I was seven years ago.

One Big Family
Seek out the Perfecto Mix by Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osbourne (I’m not sure how much Oakenfold would have been involved though) which dubs this out to incredible lengths; by the later gigs in 2000 they were performing it live in that manner. When I first saw the band in Bristol in 1997 they encored with this, and the ba-ba-ba’s went on forever – a much more satisfactory end to a gig, in my opinion, than the finale that would become traditional in 1998. There are little tweaks to the production of the EP and album versions (they are different – Karim informs me they’re in a different key, whatever that means [nb. the tardy Arab fuck now says he never did say this = he’s a LIAR]) by Steve Osbourne that elevate it above some of their other material from this era, which, despite the often lavish strings, were generally produced in a very basic a fashion. As a dance kid since the age of 16 (not that I ever go out dancing, you understand), those little soundworlds in the production mean a lot to me; sometimes they’re almost the only reason I listen to music.

Dry Kids
This is a lovely little tune, and I like the way it echoes a lyric from “Blind” (that kind of self-referential cannibalism blurs authorial lines interestingly) but I still don’t quite understand the massive level of affection most fans have for this.

You’ve Only Got To Stop To Get Better
Layers and layers of scree and noise (but not quite NOISE) almost drag this into greatness; the opening riff is classic, the lyrics meaningless enough to be shoutable without feeling like a prick, but the groove and sonic mayhem aren’t… quite… there. Turned loud enough, the rolling finale is quite something, but not the full-on, malicious lock-groove it should have been. Better than those two… things… on the album though. This is also a perfect example of their knack for RIDICULOUSLY LONG SONG TITLES. “You’ll Never Fit A Family Of Five In A Ford Cortina”.

Butter Wouldn’t Melt
Again, this is sweet enough, with a touch of bitter (or is it sour?) to start, but… ‘pretty’ is about all I can say. Finding their way I think here; the ringing piano is perhaps the best bit, the way it interplays with the guitar to almost sound like a different instrument, which is what Mad Brian Wilson was trying with Pet Sounds, placing microphones equidistant between guitars & pianos to make a new sound.

You Don’t Amount To Anything – This Time
Interesting guitar over the chorus-bit, but this is a total Lego song otherwise. Country-ish strum to open always reminded me of that Oasis one from Be Here Now with the screaming and the Johnny Depp.

The Way I Do
This is great though; my personal theory is that it’s Richard’s proposal to Jo given musical form. It’s totally pure, an unabashed Love Song, something Danny doesn’t quite seem able to write (or didn’t? – thus far his have almost all been at least touched with bitterness, negativity or spite). People always mention Lennon as a comparison/inspiration, but I’m not so sure (and only partly cos I have no solo Lennon) – I’d suggest Otis was perhaps more important to this. The pianos to close, swirling and sweeping like ripples in a pond, are magical, stately and grand and warm

Free Ride
I really really really dislike this song. A; it’s made of Lego. B; it’s a nasty, selfish, self-pitying little thing that bleeds selfish spite, reminds me of who I was at my worst and most adolescent and lacking in vision. C; it pampers to the meme that “slow & quiet = profound and moving” which is Not The Case. D; there’s fuck-all going on.

Come Back To What You Know
Embrace In The Gym. My dislike of this song stems from… from Danny telling me of it’s existence in December 1997, saying it was “pop” and me hoping for “She Bangs The Drums”. And then it’s… there’s nothing to it beyond form, and the form is not that special. Youth on production made it sparkly and shifted the dynamic into just the right shape for it to go massive. And I’ve no problem with that, but it painted Embrace in people’s minds as this Anthem Band, and, as you can see here, there’s more to them than that. Plus the sentiment is nasty! How retroactive and unadventurous can you get? Go away from what you know! Embrace the new! (Pardon the pun.)

Love Is Back
The NME review suggested the b-sides to CBTWYK “descended into 70s singer-songwriter hell” and I’m pretty close to agreement. This is… nice. But completely inconsequential. The hummed refrain is very pleasant and the drums light enough to suggest brush-work (it’s not though), but after things like “Blind” and the OBF remix I was hoping for something more dynamic (or just plain weird), and all I got was a load of pussy ballads.

If You Feel Like A Sinner
This is better; the organ/piano interplay reminds me of the instrumental from Automatic For The People, the lyric is cannibalised from all over the shop, and the melody moves with much more ease than you might at first think. Danny’s very good at running a lyrical conceit across too much melody line, carrying his train of thought into odd places, areas where it should not reside; lyrics don’t always finish at the end of a line, he often carries them on over the beat. Sometimes it doesn’t quite work (the title track of the first album, maybe) and other times it’s wonderful. Many of the early songs contained melodies that repeated themselves almost too rigidly (which I think contributes to the locationism I was talking about earlier), and while this is fine on the rockers (magnificent on OBF) you want something more fluid and wandering for the softer numbers, I feel. This does it right.

Perfect Way
Closely recorded vocals, doom-laded sentiment, minimal acoustic guitar = YAWN. “Liar’s Tears”, “Happy & Lost” and “Happiness Will Get You In The End” all pull the same trick – if you’re going to do minimal you need huge swathes of unsettling space; this is certainly the most unsettling of the guitar+voice songs they did, but I was never much into guitar+voice anyway.

Intro
40 seconds of orchestral manoeuvres in the hall – I’m still convinced you can hear (Richard?) say “fucking hell” in the background.

Higher Sights
In one of those Radio 1 live things Richard miss hit the chord going into the chorus and BAM I fell in love. Unfortunately neither that nor the glorious live piano part made it onto record, although the 3/3 waltz time did. Karim insists the alternate version, produced by Youth, from the US release did it better. I can’t remember (the drums sound like they were recorded in a big CAVE; the horns are a touch reedy; it doesn’t move easily enough). The song itself is great, powerful, but, as ever at this stage, badly realised.

Retread
Just where the fuck is the bass in this song? This should be almost physically unbearable by the climax but it isn’t because there’s no bottom end, wtf? It makes me wonder if they mixed the album at too high a volume, like The MC5 did with Back In The USA, making it sound thin and ready unless played through an enormous PA. Again, this is a great song, one of their best, but not done properly. THIS ONE TIME, AT BAND CAMP- sorry, on that goddamn Radio 1 live thing (again!) it was incendiary and searing and so on and so forth and live at the tail end of 1997 it almost made me cry (inasmuch as I ever do cry which is not a lot because I’m one hard muvva). Where’s the NOISE? And also what’s the point in recording stuff for an album in exactly the same manner as you’d play it live, only not quite as good? The studio is your friend. Boxes and buttons are to be cherished. This, along with a handful of others from the first LP, was rerecorded at Abbey Road live for the BBC and released later via the internet only, and that session caught them much better. The best it’s ever been was live at Blackpool in 2000, when an extended intro opened the whole song up and made it seem much less hermetically sealed from the outside world. (Also Danny once said “Retread” was about blowjobs. Not entirely convinced, myself…)

I Want The World
This and its partner in crime were meant to be “like the worst excesses of MBV and The Jesus & Mary Chain”. They weren’t. They were Lego. This at least had a serious attempt at bluster and chaos, but the noise was too neat and the mess too organised (and yet not meticulous enough), the groove not harsh enough.

You’ve Got To Say Yes
Whereas this had a clumsy attempt at a groove and a should-have-been-great-but-actually-ended-up-wretched horn-laded middle-8. America deemed the word “fucked” too nasty for people to hear, and so swapped this for the rerecorded “Blind”. The very first tracklisting I ever saw for the album had “Blind” running straight after AYGGP. I still think that’s how it should have been. But I digress… To achieve real NOISE post Loveless you need to produce it properly, which is why the EP take on “Blind” worked, why later stuff works, why MBV works, why Fennesz works, why Boredoms and Bark Psychosis and so on and so forth works, because the NOISE is layered to hell and intricate as well as ferocious.

That’s All Changed Forever
Live this rolled in awesome, sweeping circles; on record it had the exact same sound as the b-sides. Another great song badly- oh, you know the drill by now. In my head it was “This Is The One” gone gospel. Just imagine! A lot of people find this to be a sad song, but for me (and others, eh Muzzy) it was one of the most positive things they’d done – again, slow & quiet does NOT necessarily equal sad, and sad does NOT necessarily equal more profound than happy.

The Good Will Out
Whereas this… Well. Danny had said “wait till you see what we’re holding back for the album” and… they were holding back two bad rockers and a “Hey Jude” rip-off. This is the song in which the joins are most clearly visible. It’s practically coming apart before your eyes. And yet… saying this song is anything less than amazing in earshot of an Embrace fan will get you lynched. The album came out on the day I was diagnosed with chickenpox, three weeks after my 19th birthday. I had myself convinced it was great before I’d even heard it (which was two days before, when my brother winger a blue fabric promo to me) and then when I did hear it I couldn’t listen, because the spots in my ears HURT. Sure, singing along with it live was nice, but that’s not enough. Plus, on record, it lacked the harmonies and energy and spontaneity it had live. Karim and I were talking about it last night and he suggested the singalong would have been better tacked onto a reprise of one of the album’s other songs, and I in turn suggested AYGGP’s orchestra+noise explosion would have been perfect (stick both the Beatles steals together for maximum po.mo. frippery!).

Don’t Turn Your Back On Love
Feelings I Thought You Shared

I can’t be bothered to deal with these two separately – I don’t own them anymore and don’t miss them either. This is because they’re both pretty rubbish, to be honest; Richard even apologised to me for them at one point, saying they’d done them in a rush. One of them has some quite nice horns and the other has some noisy guitar, and that’s all I can remember.

Hooligan
I’ve said it before and doubtless I shall say it again, but this song was a complete epiphany for the band, it opened up a world of possibilities. Even though it was simple there was no trace of this being made from blocks like some of the earlier material; its progression through itself seemed totally natural. Plus kazoos! Prior to the launch gig for Drawn From Memory some idiot was running up and down Regent Street with a handful of them bought from the Early Learning Centre, giving them to random strangers so people could toot along. That idiot was me, unsurprisingly. I remember writing a huge spiel on the messageboard about how “Hooligan” reaffirmed the band’s identity by allowing them to step outside themselves and alter who they are, Nietzsche style; Danny replied, saying if I wasn’t in a band inside six months he’d come and beat me up. It’s been almost five years and we’re both still waiting… James heard it before me, on Simon Mayo’s show I think; he told me there was a kazoo and I couldn’t tell if he was lying or not. READ HIS BLOG, HE’S MENTAL – COULD YOU TELL? I’m glad he wasn’t lying. Everyone said “Gomez” or “Beck” but it was actually sourced from Delakota (burbling samples) and Bob Dorrough (the actual tune).

I Can’t Feel Bad Anymore
The opening sounded like the sun coming up, and as soon as he opened his gob I remember thinking “he’s found his voice!” and running around telling people. It was like Marvin Gaye saying he sang best when he was laying down; Danny sounded relaxed and easy and it suited him. Strong chorus here seemed (we’d discover later) to steal from “The Love It Takes”. The whole feeling was one of assured ease, confident comfort, and while the lyric may have wandered around clumsily (“I wont take another trip / on that lonely ship”) the spontaneity of the tune made up for it.

I’ve Been Running
This was recorded in one take, as was its predecessor, during a seemingly magical period at Batsford. We know this because back in the day the band would post to the board too (RICK DIDN’T KNOW WHERE CAPSLOCK WAS), and Steve told us about the genesis of the pair. Starts from nothing and builds through proper Motown keys into something really special, horns and rolling guitar and a big surge, but gentle. Again there was a confidence and ease about this, a fluidity that hadn’t been there before. Richard reveals, at the end, that he only knows two guitar solos – here he nearly plays BOTH (first solo goes widdle-diddle-dum-twiddle-diddle-dum-dum and the second goes GAKKA GAKKA GAKKA). More Otis influence too – this so consciously echoes “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” that in anyone else’s hands it would be pointless, but here it was a sweet homage.

Like A Believer
The prettiest thing they’ve ever put to tape in terms of the actual balance of sound and the production, this fluttered in out of nothing and never quite solidified. Guitar falls in thin layers like smoke, slightly country, slightly psychedelic (my fault? – Richard said in one of the video feeds on the site that whilst recording DFM he’d stumbled across an old interview in the site’s archives, wherein he and Danny had promised the interviewer the second record would be “psychedelic… Sly & The Family Stone mad”, and that had prompted him to think “shit, we’d better make it psychedelic then!” That interview was with me, from my old fanzine, and was conducted backstage in Bristol after a gig in December 97).

With The One Who Got Me Here
This was completely deconstructed, not in terms of the blocks of the song but the entire substance of its sound. I gather it was recorded normally with guitar and piano and so on before they stripped away everything but the rhythm section, and replaced it all with electronics and swathes of synth – the result is odd and compelling and strangely beautiful; it always reminds me of “Kangaroo” by Big Star, fractured and distant and obtuse. The rolls of sound to begin and end always remind me of breaking waves. NOT the work of a stodgy ballad band with no ideas – because Embrace are NOT a stodgy ballad band with no ideas.

You’re Not Alone
Motown-tastic! The Boo Radleys were an influence on this (as they had been on AYGGP – horns = “Lazarus”); it was recorded after the DFM sessions with Hugo Nicholson, stuck on the album at the last minute and picked as the single, something the band seem to do quite often (“Gravity” anyone?). Best bit? The elastic-bass + organ + guitar + falsetto to finish. It’s a pop song! Richard was absent from the band’s performance on CD:UK because of a short stay in hospital (not lung cancer or pleurisy or a heart murmur but posture problems because he holds his guitar weird had caused his chest pains! – I was having chest pains at about the same time too, but this is because I was essentially functioning as an alcoholic – the entire band [except Danny, a committed non-smoker {he has to sing!}] gave up fags in sympathy, and it was funny as piss watching Danny lay the law down every time one of them went near a cigarette; no more atmospheric, smoky rock’n’roll photographs by Mary Scanlon for the band). It’s all about the horns and the singing-along. Yeah, it’s a cliché, but it picks you up; a friend at university (the one with the pierced clit) was never into Embrace until she borrowed my MD walkman one night for the walk home – she kept it and the MD inside for another three weeks, and at the end of it she commented, simply, that “they write songs for singing.”

Brothers And Sisters
MONSTER! Should have been on the album? Possibly. “I’m not saying I think we’ve written a song as good as ‘Love Me Tender’, I’m saying we want to write one that’s as good. I don’t think we’ve done a song as good as ‘Gratitude’ by the Beastie Boys”; you fucking have now, you really have now. The guitar starts too fast, too eager and then the bass drops in like a handbrake turn, completely shifting the momentum of the song. Nuts lyrics about dogs and submarines and bombs and nonsense; in the middle everything drops out, there’s what sounds like bongos (they’re not – it’s Danny with a microphone in his mouth, slapping his cheeks), and then everything drops in again, ferocious, with a huge PUNK SCREAM. People say “why do you love Embrace?” and I ought to just give them this tune. They do the heavy stuff so well (once they’d sorted out the density of sound and fluidity of momentum) because they’ve got an ear for melody at all times…

Happy And Lost
This is an acoustic nothing; quite why the pre-eminent fansite is named after it I don’t know. Two minutes long; two minutes is all it deserves. It’s nice enough, but once you’ve heard it once what possible impetus could you have to go back to it?

Come On And Smile
This is great fun – especially when the drums cut at the end, dugga-dun dugga-dun, duggaduggadugga-DUN – crunchy and overdriven and daft, with a nice, inaudible, mysterious and positivist lyric, but it’s got b-side written all over it. In my quest to construct the Perfect Embrace B-Sides Collection (iPods have made me so happy…) this misses out because there’s just not quite enough tune. But it shows off Embrace as a band rather than just as songwriters and journeymen – Mike & Steve & Mickey (organ sounding like a Theremin) are absolutely key to making this tune work. The DFM sessions saw them learn how to play as a band properly, and it was key.

A Tap On Your Shoulder
This is sweet and interesting, a reggae hangover from Richard’s honeymoon, distorted to hell in the name of… well, making it more interesting. The lyric seems to be about a boy having problems with an older girl, and the narrator is imparting some affectionate, fraternal advice.

The Love It Takes
November 1999 and this was played on the radio when Danny (and Richard? who knows) made a trip to the BBC around the release of “Hooligan”. Blank tape, here we go… Starts with nothing, an electronic burble which is still different every time I hear it, and the drums are in a weird triangle, and and and and… The lyrics are clumsy, admit it – “there’s reasons you can’t SEE / you will be the end of ME / with the feelings I can’t FEEL” – but it doesn’t matter. The chorus is massive and comes from nowhere and everywhere at once BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER – electric hyperglide technicolour explosion, break for the skyline! It’s like Zappa and The Stone Roses on turbo, it’s not the greatest break ever, far fucking from it, but it doesn’t matter – the point is that this isn’t Santana or Zappa or anyone – it’s Embrace and they don’t didn’t do things like this, it makes you hold your arms out wide and look upwards, it’s like a big orgasm that took a long time coming, like lots and lots of things that you hoped for and never really expected. Like getting CASTLE GREYSKULL for Christmas, aged 6. It may have been shit and plastic and too small compared to how you imagined it, it may have had NO BACK to it but it’s still fucking CASTLE GREYSKULL and therefore it is great and you have to love it despite itself.

Save Me
The ‘funk’ one with loads of mad widdly organ solos scattered across it (Simple Minds, I hear you say – I WOULDN’T KNOW, I DON’T OWN ANY SIMPLE MINDS, I’M NOT A CUNT) the first time I saw this live two things struck me. 1; it’s got about three tunes (and all done with only two chords, so I’m told), and 2; how the fuck does an acoustic guitar make SO MUCH NOISE? It’s big and brash and daft and layered stupidly OTT and should have been a massive hit. Live it goes on for about 7 minutes, because “Bunker Song” is the coda. It shows Danny’s knack for making up daft words – plastiscenic this time, to go alongside engulfaphobia from “Blind”. Two remixes appeared on the single – at the time we (‘we’ being J, Karim and me) preferred the garage-y schizonutsness of the Reverend Bass mix (Reverend Bass being a guy with a magnificent worm-wig and a poorly back) which went at 1000mph, but playing them back a few weeks ago, after not hearing either for maybe three years, the Perfecto Remix stood out as having more focus and control, turning it into a big clanking dub thing. Have Oasis ever been remixed? Then shut up. Happy Mondays, the ghost of baggy, Sly Stone etcetera – did I mention that “One Big Family” sounds like “Only Shallow” gone dub-punk-terrace-chant? It does, you know.

Drawn From Memory
My opinion on this varies wildly. At one of the Blackpool gigs Danny moaned that people always go to the toilet during the slower songs, which are invariably his. He can’t possibly have seen me from the stage (with a couple of exceptions I always stand at the back looking cool at gigs) but I was one of those people who toodled off to make a piss during this song that night. In the bogs everyone was silent, except one chap who whistled the melody perfectly in time. It made for quite a magical slash. In the blue corner; it’s SEVEN MINUTES LONG, there’s only piano, a bit of bass, and some subtle atmospherics, Danny really doesn’t (didn’t) quite have the pipes to carry a tune so simply arranged, blah blah yadda yadda. In the red corner; it’s really pretty beautiful. Verdict? Acquitted on a technicality.

Bunker Song
This is the end of “Save Me”. One minute forty of cheesy kinetic thump funk, fucking great fun.

New Adam New Eve
Back at the start the band were fond of saying things like “only Chemical Brothers and Prodigy are making music worth bothering with at the moment, everyone else is rubbish”, and that attitude excited me more than almost anything else, because it hinted at the promise of Embrace trying to be everything, it showed they weren’t stuck in some Golden Age Of Rock where Noel Gallagher can say ludicrous things like “a bassline doesn’t make a song good” and “a really great song can be played on just an acoustic guitar and still sound great” and lots of other hokey boys-club workaday “it’s about soul, man” BOLLOCKS. This song blows it all away. (J – “I was never that keen on New Adam…”) Layers of winding psychoschizo noise twisting too fast, drop some scratching in as a nasty hook, feel that fucking BASS for heaven’s sake, talk about “Airbag”, bugger off, this is absolutely savage, Danny’s best spite lyric – “the awful weight / spread across me when I wake / is your loving arm around me” – and the chorus is just do-do-do like Lou Reed did years ago, like some technorock Motown fuckjob, absolutely on the edge of chaos, as solid as a rock, visceral and daft, layers and layers and layers, the organ underneath playing all these tiny sweet hooks but smashed so utterly by the force of that bass and those drums (double-whack, always a good sign) and those guitars that it becomes evil too. Richard doesn’t solo here he just fucking hits it cos what’s the point in playing it properly, that’s no fun. And this tune, after the stuff that barely even used electricity, meant that that thing they said about Prodigy made sense, in a roundabout way.

Yeah You
And this is the same but cute, isn’t it? “We free-dinners-kids with the big ideas”, a great line, everything about the band summed up, the Nirvana fandom making sense but euphoric not misanthropic. Metallic grating to close – by this time I was squirming like a kid, what have they done? What have they done?! What have they done!!!

Liar’s Tears
It seems really incongruous after all that, this little acoustic nothing, this apology set to tape. You can hear a chair creak and that makes it, but… It’s nice enough. Prettier than most. I guess I just don’t like the minimal ballads.

I Wouldn’t Wanna Happen To You
This could be my favourite song by them, this cantering little psychedelic thing, all flurries of leaves in summer and tiny melodic fills, circular guitar and horns and just… Danny said this album was their Paul’s Boutique, that it was about magic moments, little bits of sound that jump out at you, and it is. IWWHTY is one long buzz of gorgeous hooks. The rerecorded version for the single was lighter but lost, for me, that buzz of so much great stuff happening at once by paring it down a touch. Why do I love this band? Perhaps I ought to just give you this song.

I Had A Time
Or maybe this one? It’s trying too hard for that brief-encounter profundity, but fuck me if it’s not absolutely beautiful, vacant and intangible, slipping just out of view, the melody so slight as to almost vanish if you try and grasp it, some clarinet courtesy of Mike and shimmering keys from Mickey, guitar falling away… You don’t need a orchestra to break a heart. Beautiful.

Get On Board
This is just great, a slow-burner, laidback pop sung by Richard, undulating Byrds bass, sliding guitars to close, so understated and gorgeous and warm and weightless but not stuck in the past. Why do I love this band? Perhaps I ought to give you this song.

Still So Young
Mike wrote this. It’s pleasant enough, but never did anything for me. I’ve probably only listened to it three times.

The First Cut
Velvet Underground damp stomp, indecipherable, a firm favourite of The Fans Who Know, DOES SOMEONE IN THE BAND LIKE ARCHERY, DO THEY? ROFFLE. (Yes I was kind of losing my mind by this point in the exercise.)

I Know What’s Going On
Two-minutes, clapping, a guitar solo, a singy bit. Magnus at university (Magnus was a great man but I can’t remember his surname – married to a lovely woman named Bea, with a son who was the most ENORMOUS BABY EVER and who couldn’t say ‘Nick’ so used to gurgle something that sounded like ‘god’; should you ever happen across this, Magnus, get in touch!) said he thought this was the best thing they’d done because it was weightless and honest and open to the sky. He was a good man. He could tell you what a record was like by looking at the grooves. Before he became a dad we used to smoke huge amounts of ganja and listen to drum n bass and talk about music. God those days are so far away now. So long ago. How have years passed?

Top Of The Heap
A nice enough little tune, sounds good, but nothing to it. Won’t ever make the Perfect B-Sides Compilation.

Three Is A Magic Number
Live cover from a Radio 1 session – they dragged Bob Dorrough to do this with them at a Brixton gig – hey kids, De La Soul DID NOT COVER IT, they sampled it which is a totally different thing. Necessary irreverence here. THIS IS THE BIT WHERE I TALK ABOUT THE SECRET GIGS. From 19 to 22… That’s the timeline of the release of their first three albums for me. One just before university, one slap-bang in the middle, one just after. From Northampton everywhere in the country (except Devon) is easily accessible, especially London. And people would pick me up and drive me anywhere, pick me up at 11am in Manchester and drive me to Blackpool and feed me beer for breakfast because I was fun to have around (allegedly) YOU CAN’T DRINK WARM CANS OF GUINNESS IN A MOVING CAR, KARIM, YOU MENTALIST and I hate to get soppy and talk about times in my life or whatever, all that shit, because these songs don’t bring back memories (I don’t associate songs with things beyond colours and shapes and whether I enjoy them, they don’t really act as emotional batteries for me, this is why I like weird shit – I’m in space looking at music, as young Tom says; it’s about the point of contact, which is why things have to sound good on record, otherwise what’s the point? It’s what people still have in the future) but good lord, I will never have a time in my life like I did from January to December 2000. And thank fuck, because it was mental; I couldn’t do it again and I don’t remember much. I remember getting to SG3 slightly late (we got lost), and shouting “HIPPIES!” at the band because they had flowers and candles around them and Danny replied “J and Nick must have arrived then!” The gig was in a forest glade next to the lake where they tested the bouncing bomb – apart from the midges it was beautiful – Jo brought us cans of beer that had been cooling in a stream and I’m almost welling up remembering it, it was so great, Danny’s then girlfriend was talking about setting me up with her mate, wtf, we went for Thai at some point, maybe a few days later, or was that another time altogether, J’s birthday, back in time to May and the two Blackpool gigs, across to Leeds, down to Surbiton, across to London, drinking port (they had no Guinness!) and flashing my arse in some hotel at midnight on a Sunday after walking across Shepherd’s Bush Green shouting lines from Withnail with J and Richard, buying pornography and chocolate from a petrol station because it was funny, the guy in the booth making me laugh and me kissing the concrete in thanks, before the gig standing on a table in the pub next door and screaming at a wizard’s shoe, eating lots of burgers, fucking hell was this all real? The Wolverhampton thing, getting lost in Brixton, 15 pints of Guinness (allegedly – I wasn’t fucking counting), someone tearing curtains down (or not) in the name of rock n roll and sleepy friends… the lost goes on and on. It’s no wonder I burnt out a bit, moved back home, found a girl, settled down, got a 9-5 job in an office (admittedly a fucking mad office full of records and films and Bark Psychosis white label promos just casually laying around in the corner)… As for this tune, well, you know, it’s about MATHS and is quite good FUN to SING.

Wonder
It’s a great title for a song, in the sense of “wide-eyed”. I recorded the first play off the radio onto MD and was nonplussed. I played it on repeat for 45 minutes, trying to get to grips with it. The guitar streaming under the gospel bit was good, and it’s a good song… but it never took off, it was never big and bold enough. Spiritualized released “Stop Your Crying” at almost the same time, and that seemed to trump “Wonder” at it’s own game. But you have to take things on their own terms to an extent; you have to understand what their point is… There is or was a simple charm about this… but… not really feeling it.

Anywhere You Go
This is a hangover from the DFM sessions – the shimmer to production is a dead giveaway. It’s pretty, but the trumpet at the end would be better if a; it was real (it might be, but I seriously suspect it isn’t), and b; if it did something other than just follow the rigid melody line it’s given. What this means is that I want Embrace to go jazz. Which is not going to happen.

Everyday
Recorded with a cold on Danny’s part. Not good.

Today
Same with this. Which leads me to the conclusion that, by this time, Hut didn’t give a fuck about Embrace because they were collapsing (the label, not the band), which led to the band being both rushed into things and also hideously neglected. Coupled with the fact that I was no longer going to gigs, that I was on the other side of the country again… burn out. Loss of interest. Impending doom? Maybe, nearly, not quite.

Caught In A Rush
This either has a brilliant and unexpected dynamic leap, or sounds like two songs held clumsily together with sellotape, depending on your perspective. As there doesn’t appear to be any organ or piano on this, and the guitar wasn’t typical Embrace guitar (remember Richard only has two solos!) some people wandered if maybe it was Mickey playing guitar, and Richard was absent being father? Unlikely seeing as it was probably recorded in his garage (so to speak). Like the other IYNB era b-sides, I don’t own this anymore, and I don’t really miss it.

Over
They did two new songs live at the Brixton gigs in December 2000 (I left one before Embrace had even been on – the acoustics at that place are shocking, I was drunk, J & Karim weren’t coming due to a written-off car; there didn’t seem like much point), “It’s Gonna Take Time” and this. IGTT was nice enough, big chorus, clanking guitar, blah blah yadda yadda, but this… this was something else altogether. Thinking about it now the only thing I know that does a similar thing this, this drawn out, dramatic, (dare I say it?) gothic overload, is Disintegration. Again this is in waltz time (and again it took Karim to clarify this for me IT SEEMS SO OBVIOUS NOW), but it’s huge and hollow and plaintive and free flowing in a way that nothing which came before it had been. I love this. It seethes, gathers itself from nothing and rolls forward, a soundworld in and of itself, never climaxing, never reaching a refrain, fading in parts and then coming back, huge swathes of sound crashing into and over each other. This is the BIG sound. How the fuck can Starsailor have a career when this exists? Hidden at the end is a tiny string sweep, delicate and quiet and beautiful. The overdriven peaks when guitar and synth collide and you can’t tell where one sound ends and another begins… Why do I love this band? Perhaps I should give you this song? Only it’s not a song…

I Hope You’re Happy Now
IYNB hit me fast and then drifted away slowly over the next six months. The way the chorus emerges from nothing, just a twist of the melody line and a hop and a jump and it’s away, carries on what I was saying earlier about Danny running lyrics past the end of lines (I’ve just put Rufus Wainwright on and while Danny’s not a patch on him at doing it, there’s a different purpose to the trick’s utilisation between the two; Rufus is basically doing show tunes, he’s got nothing in common with The Beatles or Simon & Garfunkel or Motown in his arrangements – it’s total Broadway). IHYHN is sweet and (I believe) anti-industry (tellingly?), accomplished and easy, and I haven’t listened to it by choice in two years. Which says something.

Many Will Learn
Whereas this, along with “Satellites”, “Over” and the (sort of) title track, made it onto the iPod. It’s almost as if that’s become the acid test; very rarely do full albums make it on there, it’s all favourite songs – 25 by Blur, 10 by Oasis, fucking 60-odd by Orbital (they do have full albums on there…), etcetera. This starts almost clumsily, not Richard’s guitar, maybe the opening melody? It doesn’t really prepare you for what’s coming, for the opening up, the falling harmonies, that sense of oceanic warmth… and yet IYNB is a very cold, chilly album, just after twilight, wrapped in mist. Again this isn’t a song so much as a feeling, an impression of a feeling (I always thought it was “you’re as honest as a comet” until I saw it written down), caught on tape. It’s luscious, in a word, but almost seems… not quite fully formed? It followed DFM very quickly, as if to try and capture the creative and emotional momentum of that period, and I wonder if songs didn’t quite get chance to breath and live properly. In the case of “Many Will Learn” this sensation probably grounds the song in a good way though – left to itself for longer it might have become too otherworldly and remote, as it is the balance is effective, perhaps accentuates the song’s more beautiful and transient qualities without over-egging them. Another thing about this album as a whole is that Mickey’s keyboards often sound too small and cheap, as if they tried too hard for ‘understated’; another sign of the band being rushed? Danny talked a lot of this album’s genesis as being about capturing a feeling of being ‘lost at sea’, which I think reveals a lot about the band’s mindset. It may have resulted in some beautiful music, but I don’t think it was healthy.

It’s Gonna Take Time
This is alright. Nice clanking bass towards the end. Never fully gets going though, does it? Mooted as a single, but Hut were so lax with marketing at this point that there was no fucking point. I’m interested to find out just how the lack of record company attention and care affected the band’s mindset at this point; recent words from the band about new material suggests they were disheartened during IYNB and didn’t even realise it at the time, hence the ‘lost at sea thing’. One thing’s for sure – on this album they were MUCH better at the fluid, impressionistic moments than the straight-ahead ‘songs’. Barely any guitar on this, which is a shame; because Richard would rather be a drummer, he makes a very good guitarist – it’s about not overly respecting the instrument, I think, seeing it as a tool for making a song or a noise rather than as a wankboard. All the good guitar lines on this record got used up in “Over”, maybe.

Hey, What You Trying To Say
Really nicely arranged, especially the end. Danny wanted to get Neil Young in to play harmonica; unsurprisingly the crotchety old bastard never made it. The lyrics are about how clumsy we are with words, which is ironic because the lyrics are pretty poor, and the melody errs on the wrong side of cheese. Like I said, really great arrangement, subtle and tuneful, but I don’t ever listen to it. One friend who’s not particularly a fan said, on hearing IYNB, that this was their worst song (he said “Many Will Learn” was one of their best).

If You’ve Never Been In Love With Anything
More hooks than a convention of one-armed pirates. Beach Boys, Jim’ll Fix It, Spiritualized, etcetera. This grabbed me hard for a while but these days I’m less impressed. It’s not… mad enough? WAAAAY back when they said they wanted to sound like The Beatles circa Sgt. Pepper if Brian Wilson had joined, and maybe this is a stab at that? The end is great. A certain Mr Chappell said the main body of the song sounded too much like a demo, not properly balanced or full enough. I disagreed heartily at the time but I can see what he means now, I think. This still ended up on the iPod. I need to hear it again, maybe. This should have been a hit. This should have been massive. GLORIOUS. It never got released. wtf went wrong?!

Make It Last
Heard an early live version of this from a bootleg of that gig in a cave (no I don’t still have it, so don’t bother asking – I hate bootlegs, and after listening once I destroy them), and it had some weird keyboard trill running through it like The Flaming Lips doing Delakota’s “The Rock”. Second single. My least favourite on IYNB after HWYTTS. Minor-to-major is better than major-to-minor. I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT HERE BUT KARIM UNDERSTANDS. It’s about looking at the stars rather than you’re navel – “you know we coulda” goes up and then “made it last” comes down and it’s horrible – like all those post-Flips bands with vocalists who really can’t sing, who can’t hold a breath enough to carry a melody line so they cut them all really short. Keep Going UP>>>

Happiness Will Get You In The End
Minimal acoustic nothing with a really nasty (in a good sense) lyric. I don’t like this song but I can appreciate it. I remember saying to Karim (he didn’t like it at all) that it was perhaps a song you could only get if you knew you were (emphasis on past tense) a cunt. I think in many ways I have a lot in common with old Danny; I just don’t worry about things like he does.

Satellites
I veer between a mild distaste for this, because it isn’t what it was, and loving it helplessly because it is what it could be… It opens up slowly… You can’t listen to it except in the dark. It is the dark. Storms are brewing but far away and for now you can still see the night sky… Why do I love this band? This is (for now?) the most sonically beautiful thing they’ve done, cold and empty but, as I said, opening up into something warm. Before that fucking thing on the train station they gave a CD away to the people who were going, along with a map and a ticket. The CD had lots of songs by various people to set the mood. This came last and it surprised so many… I remember the morning the MD of IYNB landed on my door mat, and although it was still technically summer it was a cold day, and as misty as you like. I cycled out to Dawlish Warren with my walkman, parked the bike up and walked to the point. You couldn’t see more than 30 feet, the entire world was sheathed in vapour, hidden, vanishing, and I traversed the sand listening. That’s why IYNB hit me so hard so fast, and then faded. The start and the end are such absolute peaks, they hold up the middle but also make its weakness apparent. “Satellites” was like the culmination of so much stuff. I don’t listen to it often, and after it I can’t listen to anything else by anyone for a good while.

Fight Yer Corner
This was held back from the DFM sessions too, and consequently has a much more colourful sound to it than IYNB and especially it’s b-side contemporaries (all the DFM stuff is painted in bright oranges and yellows for me, vibrant and detailed). It’s nice enough, but, as I’ve said before, I don’t own it and I don’t miss it.

It’s You I Make It For
Can’t remember anything about this other than the fact that it was another song recorded with a cold on Danny’s part. I can’t remember whether it was a messageboard post or an email, I think the former, but it was mid-2002 and I expressed my falling-out-of-love with Embrace fully and in no uncertain terms. I said there had been too many hesitations, too many mistakes and missteps, hurried judgements in the wrong places, that I was still waiting for the next record because the three so far had all been compromised and that now I was worried it would never come and I couldn’t afford to sit around waiting for it. I stopped visiting the site for some time. When I did go there it seemed as if it was populated by people who neither understood nor cared about what this band was about, what they stood for, which I thought I understood much better than anybody else. Maybe I do? Who knows. Danny emailed me back after that message and… I can’t quite recall? Apologised? I know he said the stuff they were working on had the scope and attention to detail “of Peter Jackson”. The thing is that this band are almost hopelessly misunderstood by so many people who aren’t aware of the bigger picture, who don’t understand that the statements way back when weren’t arrogance, they were ambitions, and yeah it is about feelings and soul (and I don’t believe in ‘soul’) but it’s also about music and songs. You can’t help who you fall in love with and you can’t help who you fall out of love with. Well maybe you can, but you probably shouldn’t. Sometimes a band just gets you… Just the way the drums fall makes you feel taller, fitter, better able to cope. And I don’t have problems coping in the first place. And I don’t stand at the back looking cool, not at things like that. I go down the front and lose my shit. I might not these days because I’ve done it too many times, because my hip’s fucked, because now I just want to listen and watch other people lose it (it’s their time after all now, I had mine) and soak it in, see what they’re capable of as a band because it’s still so much. It’s not about sitting on the steps and looking at the gutter, it’s about standing in the porch and looking at the stars. It’s not about hitting notes it’s about pulling strings. Yeah they’re clichés and platitudes and hokum and so fucking what? What’s a cliché but a truth that’s become horribly, laughably, uncomfortably apparent? Music doesn’t have to be a reaction to what’s gone before it in order to be ‘good’, it doesn’t have to be made by people interested in the same art as you or by people with the same education (I know art students and I know educated people and I know people in bands and I know people who actually craft things and I know people who are caught in traps and they’re all different and you can’t say some are worth more than others as a categorical fact because Dougie might be an alcoholic but he’s still a better carpenter and joiner than you are a whateeverthefuckyouare, the things he makes are actually beautiful and have a purpose). All music has to do is touch you. The best music doesn’t come from the city. The best music comes from people, whether they use sticks and stones or to make it or ProTools or trumpets and double-bass or a sampler. It picks you up and makes you see things differently and that can be Disco Inferno or Britney Spears or Underworld or Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Charles Mingus or Embrace or anything that moves you in some way or another. Robin said “I was awake last night at 2am and I put the tele on and what the fuck were you doing there, Nick?!” and Robin might be bankrupt and dead now, massive heart attack brought about by being an alcoholic, debt-ridden scammer, huge swathes of things might have happened since then, whole new worlds might have been born in between but Jo can turn to me and say “the second one is still my favourite, I think” in that room, looking out of the window onto those people while J played records and I absently filmed stuff and it makes sense. I didn’t know in 1997 that I was going to be doing this. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in September. I don’t know what “It’s You I Make It For” sounds like and I don’t care and I’m allowed not to care, because I still care more than most.

Giving Forgiving And Giving In
Heard an early version of this that was just acoustic. It was nice enough. This rocks a bit more. It’s alright.

What You’ve Never Had You’ll Never Have
Didn’t like this at all. Cannibalised from that albatross. Had enough now.

Gravity
This is the weakest track on the album. I’ve grown to quite like it in its context there, as a lull, a sweet moment, a pause in the headiness. The production is lovely, the guitar to close spiralling and messy and bright. But it’s not the main event. It does sound like a Coldplay song because it is, and they are much simpler and less good than Embrace. But they did a job with it. People currently hyping this tune are going to pass out when they hear the rest of the album. It’s like Coldplay rewriting “Wonder” for people who don’t think enough and Embrace then seizing it and giving it balls again (the thing “Wonder” sorely lacked). If I was sitting on a railway station I’d now describe it as having a “simple, warm spirituality”. Which is Nickspeak for “it’s nice but it doesn’t excite me”.

The Shot’s Still Ringing
Starts abruptly, Standard Embrace B-Side style (not worked on long enough to create a proper intro? -they didn’t even leave a “1-2-3-4!”: they never do), standard 4/4 time signature, standard chugging guitars. But what’s this? An abundance of melody, and a host of lyrical nuggets (sinking ships [a recurring theme], noise, crashing cars, rubbernecking) just waiting to be devoured and chewed over and ruminated upon and cried too, probably. My favourite moment? “All this noise / I’m 19, I’m 22 / In between I’m blessed with you” – the first album having been released when I was just 19, a few months before university, and the third having been released when I was 22, a few months after university (“Hooligan” being slap-bang in the middle of it). Of course this song isn’t about me, don’t be daft, but it’s one of those tiny moments of oddness when your turn your head and think “was that…?” and realise that it was. The tune itself doesn’t do much for me, but I know at least two people already who love it (KARIM AND J LOVE IT). It wouldn’t make my mythical b-sides compilation, but it would probably make most other people’s.

Waterfall
The opening bars of this assure it a place on the legendary CDR though. Chopped-up strings, probably summoned from a sampler or synth, float out of the right-channel, stuttering like tears being desperately held back. Apparently it was recorded in one take, a la “I’ve Been Running” and “I Can’t Feel Bad Anymore”, and it has that same, lighter-than-air, easy feel to it, almost as if it’s been made up on the spot. The monochrome, aquatic stillness also give it a connection to “Satellites”. Halfway through it suddenly dawns on you that the verse has contorted itself into a chorus, and that everything has become much louder (it starts VERY quietly); there are some backing vocals which are endearingly, affectingly clumsy. Richard starts playing a guitar solo, well, less a solo than just a lovely fill, and after a couple of bars of perfection it’s as if he misses a note and then forgets where he is and what he’s doing, thinks “oh well, the others are still playing” and heads out of the room for a cup of tea. It’s lovely, there’s no other word for it (at 3.16 it’s especially beautiful, innocent and totally unaffected). Then some more singing (another chorus, easy, supine, like Marvin Gaye were he from Yorkshire and afraid of cows). And then those strings and that chiming, charming guitar to close. Oh those strings. Staggeringly beautiful. This would easily have fitted on IYNB, and what’s more been the second or third best track there.

Too Many Times
This would NOT have fitted on IYNB. Or any of their albums, including the new one. This is what it’s all about. This is savage, and one of the best things they’ve ever done. It’s like Timbaland producing The Verve circa 1995, when they were at their noisy, fucked-up, howling best. Apparently Youth was told to make the percussion at the start “sound like Manitoba”; thankfully he fucked that up, and what we get is much more powerful and intriguing as a result (indie goes laptop-glitch done to death: spacerock goes psycho-r’n’b not done at all). So what we get is an impossibly jerking rhythm, fucked-up handclaps, a banged-to-fuck piano, lots of distortion on the vocals and reams of evil, snaking, histrionic guitar. “Gravity” isn’t for me. This is for me. This might just be my favourite Embrace song.

Wasted
This surfaced a few years ago as a scratchy bootleg titled “Logical Love Song”. It was pretty good then and is pretty good now. This is re-recorded. It wont get on the mythical CDR but it is good to sing. There are some really great, shitty-synth horns, and some crunchy guitar.

Ashes
Not an ounce of fat on this. Some had thought it would be a 7-minute epic, huge, surging chorus, extended coda, fiddly intro, blah blah. NO. This is as tight as all hell. It’s like The Joshua Tree compressed into 4 minutes and not written and performed by cunts. It’s about the band (I think, anyway, and I am right, of course, because now this is my song, not their song, and soon it will be your song too, and by then it will be about whatever you want it to be about and sod what I think [and that, people, was always the point that anyone who called me a cunt did not get - this is what I think, now say what you think]). Danny said on Radio One the other day that “girlfriends in the past have always been annoyed at being second fiddle to the band” and this is the point at which that becomes possibly the most profound thing in terms of understanding what this record is about. Because it’s not about falling out of love with gurlz; it’s about music, and the band, and the struggle to make the music, the way they’ve been misunderstood and beaten down by certain parties and the fact that FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOU TOO because this owns, this is the shit, this is the real comeback single (alternate world, should have been). 0.49, right channel, wisps of electronic guitar interference. Little moments like that make this record, the same way they did DFM, only now the tunes are HUGE.

Someday
Like I said, they told me to my face about this song in 1997 and then made me wait fucking 7 fucking years the fucking fucks. Danny cannot sing as well as Edith Piaf, and this means he has to compensate. He does this by twisting melodies in ways you wouldn’t expect – not the same was Rufus does it because Rufus is an entertainer and is blessed with remarkable pipes – just listen to how he squeezes in “and you wont know how to act”, finding a whole other area of melodic territory within the line he’s already given himself. My brother on this song: “It’s just Embrace doing Embrace, innit?” Me: “Yeah, but better.” My brother: “True.” In that it is, um, BIG, and SOARING. Might just be their best song, their most fully realised anthem. Oh GUFF. This makes me cry because it’s so fucking GOOD. The dynamic falls and rises are perfect, the guitar just silver and burning enough. Get that pause, when the word “back” echoes into silence and then Danny says (“yeah!”) and things cut back in and Richard plays another gloriously retarded guitar non-solo and there’s a big gospel bit only done properly (sorry Jason you missed out there) and this screams WORLD CONQUERING SINGLE and is five or six minutes long and massive massive MASSIVE, starting and ending exactly as it should. The bass is doing subtly wonderful things, little rises and falls that raise your solar plexus. (Oh yeah, did I ever explain that Besty’s drum fills, although not groundbreaking or technically that astounding, make my chest feel like nothing else? Because they do.) Fucking hell yeah. Is it triumphalism? No. What is it that makes me cry? It’s just the melody in the opening verse, the fact that it’s so perfectly placed and poised so that you know how it goes and ALWAYS have known but it doesn’t repeat, it moves onwards. And the chorus… Which is “you will feel the way I feel someday” but I hear as “you wont feel the weight I feel someday” because it’s about shedding things and helping others, saying you can stand it and you’ll carry it for other people and one day soon it’ll be OK, more than OK, you wont have to carry those scars anymore. Because the music sheds them. Band catching up with songs? Yes.

Looking As You Are
Just a lovingly-crafted slice of pop music, delicate and powerful (get the rumbling, shouting middle-8, all twisted vocal lines and muscular rhythm). It’s at this point that it becomes apparent that the balance on this album between sound and song is remarkable – the opening guitars on this are nothing short of beautiful, to the extent that they don’t sound as if they’ve been written or slaved over, don’t even sound as if they’ve been played, but rather are just there, existing and complete. And the melody is, again, lovely, lapsing into broken-falsetto, exposing vulnerability but not sentimentality. A possible single. Which makes three possible singles and an actual single out of the first four songs (the actual single being the weakest track).

Wish ‘Em All Away
Nothing particularly remarkable about this track, it’s just very fucking strong, melodically etcetera, blah blah what what AND THEN you realise that, in the middle-8, at 2.29 in, there is not only the most wonderfully savage guitar blackness going on, but also A TRIBAL CHANT in the right channel, mimicking the bassline, the whole band plus assorted friends and lovers (except Steve, who, apparently wisely, videoed the episode) going “HOO-HA-HOO-HA-HOO-HA-HA-HA” like some fucked-up version of the All Blacks doing that thigh-slapping thing. Again, this is a possible single, and I hope to god it is, because in this climate it would go top ten and I’d love to have a “faceless Britpop outfit” doing the haka in the top ten just so I can scream at people for being unlistening idiots. If it wasn’t for that middle-8 I’d just think this song was ‘good’. As it is, it’s now brilliant.

Keeping
Karim’s favourite? Certainly his tune in the way that “Too Many Times” is my tune. Two choruses. Massive. Lyrics about a tidal wave. Again it’s produced brilliantly and could easily be a single. It’s that surge of emotion that they always had but now it’s so much more competent and well delivered. Much to write about? Not really, just very fucking strong.

Spell It Out
I’m not sure, but I’d hazard that this was a Richard tune. Absolutely MAD time signature which seems really complicated (like 9/6 or something stupid and impossible) but is probably actually just another waltz. The reason I think this is Richard (Danny sings all the songs here, and sings them incredibly well – Youth’s bullying worked on many, many levels) is because, big as it is, it’s a pop song rather than a rock song or a big anthemic ballad with Buster Gonad balls or whatever. Also uses strings much more effectively than they have in the past; rather than existing on top of the tune they create space within it. Like “Ashes” this gets a powerful momentum going, and, although longer, it’s just as tight. Another thing about this record, EVERYONE in the band just sounds better, more on top of their game, playing harder. (Interestingly it seems as though Mickey Dale is less obviously present on this album than the last two – piano obviously down to him, but is some of the guitar his work too, I wonder?)

A Glorious Day
Was unsure about this when I first heard it, but finished it’s muscular and powerful in a way I couldn’t imagine before. There’s an oh-oh-ohoh bit which I thought would have people mocking Danny’s voice again (not about hitting notes, about pulling strings, you fucks; do you not realise what you’re invalidating by saying that he can’t sing when you don’t even listen? – if he couldn’t sing would he be able to deal with the melody in “Spell It Out”? No), but actually it’s stunning. Again, and I’m getting bored of typing this now but it’s true, this could be (and probably will be) a single. At Christmas time. And go top 3. And again is totally about the band; it even references “Wonder” at one point. Actually I like to think of it as being about Youth rather than the band.

Near Life
I’m interested to see how people deal with this, because there’s not really any precedent for it in the band’s catalogue thus far. I gather that, like material from The Verve’s first two albums, this was put together from an extended jam by a couple of engineers under the band’s instruction. At first it feels almost formless, but patterns emerge over time, distinct patterns and melodies and movements. It’s a big grooving spacerock jam, basically, but because melody is so key to everything Embrace do it becomes more compelling. I think it might shock and scare people at first. I know one person who thought it was scarily negative, but I don’t get that. Ominous, sure, but it’s got a quiet confidence (“I’ve got my hammer all I see is nails” = we are equipped to do our job and we are going to do it better than ever before) which makes the threat not one of violence but of strength and intention. This may well signal where the band are off to next (and it definitely says “band” and not “songwriters”). I love this, but I’m weak for big, spacey jams. The guitar, keys, bass and drums are all remarkable, the sound echoes and rolls and expands. Oceanic might be a word. Oh come all ye unfaithful. Lets see how you deal with this.

Out Of Nothing
Starts as piano ballad with wisps of guitar feedback painting the corners and periphery, Danny as fallen choirboy, something about a dancing bear, sweetly desperational, resigned almost, forlorn some would say. And they’d be right, for a second. But this says, not in so many words, it’s over, it’s done, stand up, move on, goodbye. The feedback darts move it onward. And after two minutes and some an eruption, sudden and shocking, that sinking ship again, a cry, a plea, a violent eulogy for all the failed attempts before, crashing and writhing and then back to that choirboy, bidding us fairwell. And then nothingness. And then YOWL, howl, a punctured silence, as gasp of disbelief, a tumult, deep, anchored bass, layer upon layer upon spiralling, searing layer of white noise, the most sonically extreme and powerful thing they’ve ever done, chaos and disorder but bound to earthly ties, absolute dischord and breakdown, and then strange, melted, sunken noise falling away and away and away until silence again. This says that this band are not over. This says that this band mean business. It grabs hold of your guts and twists them, seizes the watermelon-sized hole in your chest, the drops of ruby-blood from your nose, the blackened space behind your eyes, and shakes you, shakes you until you are nothing. Out of nothing and back into it again. Make no mistake, this is a fucking powerful record, in every direction. I keep worrying that I’m going to overplay it, break it, make it lose it’s power, but, although I’m over the sobbing that grabbed hold of my body for that first week, it’s power is undiminished across… how many listens? Dozens. And hundreds more yet to come.

Maybe I Wish
Danny told a selection of fans who accompanied the band (all expenses paid) on a three-day trip to Spain for a gig aboard a yacht that “the next single has the best b-side we’ve ever written on it”. This is that b-side. Is it the best they’ve ever written? Someone who was on that trip but who shall remain anonymous asked me via MSN last night whether it was, citing the fact that often he/she trusts my opinion more than the band’s when it comes to how good the songs they’ve not heard yet are. Do bands always know their best songs? Doubtful. I bow to my brother when he tells me what I’m best at doing in a game of football (i.e. “stop attempting 40-yard passes in five-a-side, stop trying to go past everyone, just pass the ball simple and early and find space and get on the end of things; you’re very good at that you twat”); sometimes people outside of yourself see the best in what you do because of the remove. But make no mistake – this is a very, very good song. For a while it was deigned to be the closing track on the current album, until “Out Of Nothing” came along and obliterated it. “Maybe I Wish” starts small and builds and builds and builds – five and a half minutes long, no guitar solos, no instrumental passages, no dramatic changes in direction – just an ever-developing melody and growing weight of impetus and emotion. The band produced it themselves in a perfunctory fashion, as if they are saying “here is a damn good song, a song so good, in fact, that all you’re getting is the song”. Had Youth got hold of it and worked some magic it might have been amazing.

Enough
Played live at one of the Cockpit gigs back in December, this is the vinyl-only choice this time, which is sad because it’s very good indeed. Golrim does not like it because it’s noisy, but WHAT DOES HE KNOW? (Quite a lot, actually, and I love him.) It is noisy – it spits and snarls at you from a garage. The title comes from the phrase “I’ve just had ENOUGH” which is the refrain. Sounds like it was largely done in one take with some overdubs later – great guitar in the verse when it goes a bit quieter and makes a rhythmic shluckaschlucka noise. Great harmonies to close. A bit Spiritualized, a bit Primal Scream, a lot pretty good.

Flaming Red Hair
This might raise some eyebrows. Some people might hate it to start with, but most of the people I trust will love it, because it’s fucking wonderful. Started life as a jammed cover of a certain Michael Jackson tune, and has been corrupted almost unrecognisably from there (connoisseurs will recognise parts of the bassline). Apparently Youth and an engineer ran off with the master tapes of the jam that this was adapted from and worked on them in secret while the band were mastering the album tracks – clever man, clever man. I love him, in a truly platonic sense. I played it to a musician/academic friend of mine yesterday and his response was “that emphasises just how shit Kasabian are then”. It emphasises a lot of things. That Embrace are not living in the pigeonhole people think they are. That their next album is gonna be fully jaw-dropping amazing. That they’re happy to piss away outstanding pieces of music such as this on the b-side of singles. Almost all the criticisms levelled at Embrace by whoever chooses to criticise them would be completely laid to waste by songs like this and “Too Many Times”, and by older tunes like “Blind” and “Brothers & Sisters” – those are just the b-sides. “One Big Family”, “New Adam New Eve”, the orchestral meltdown at the end of “All You Good Good People”- oh, I’ve said it all before. If you’d heard “Even Smaller Stones” live then you’d shut the fuck up. This is what marks Embrace out from your Keanes, Coldplays, Thirteen Senses or whoever, above and beyond any tremulous claims that they write better, more emotional songs (although they do). It even marks them out above the likes of Doves, Elbow – none of those bands ever rocked, ever stuck themselves right on the edge of creative failure and challenged themselves to do what the uneducated didn’t imagine them to be capable of, none of them ever did this. “Flaming Red Hair” is a tightly controlled and exercised melange of disco noise, of energy, or barely concealed psychosis and oddness. It’s got a verse, a chorus, a middle eight, but it doesn’t use any of those things in a way you’d expect. It doesn’t use anything in the way you’d expect. The DFA’s publicity guy is a huge Embrace fan, which, as Mr Unterberger pointed out to me last night, was rather an odd thing. This sounds like it could have been produced by the DFA. ARE YOU LISTENING? Bollocks to The Rapture.

How Come
This might raise some eyebrows too, only most fans have already heard it. A live session for Jo Whiley these days must include an indie band doing a (possibly ironic) cover of a recent pop hit, to show just how superior (yeah, right) “real” “indie” music is to pop, in some people’s eyes; LOOK, HAVEN ARE SO TALENTED THEY CAN MAKE SOME PIECE OF POP SHIT BY SOME POP SHITTER INTO A HEART-RENDING MASTERPIECE DRIPPING WITH EMOTIONAL EMOTION – witness Travis making “Hit Me Baby One More Time” into a pussy ballad (where ballad = quiet acoustic sappy shit rather than story-as-song). Dismemberment Plan covered “Crush” by Jennifer Paige on an EP a few years ago, made it into a brooding 6-minute psycho stalker song. It was OK. Embrace did the Jo Whiley show some 6 weeks ago or so, and were going to cover “Cry Me A River” by Justin until someone told them it had already been done. So they hastily arranged a cover of “How Come” by D12. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. It’s only three minutes long, it starts out with piano and a melody that Danny wrote so he wouldn’t have to try and beat Eminem at his own game. It grows into something that you might call epic. It is intense and it is very, very good.

I Ache
Embrace’s evolution continues with “I Ache”, the most instantly noticeable of the new b-sides, an oddly dramatic piece of subdued acoustic spaceblues (figure that out – “oddly dramatic” and “subdued” at the same time) lashed through with caustic streams of silverblue guitar that makes you feel dizzy. Dark and narcotic, it sits alongside “Too Many Times” and “Flaming Red Hair” nicely, although it’s slower than both and much less digital than “FRH”. This gets on the 10-track b-sides CD, when I make the next one.

Soldier’s Hours
A fuzzblown grooving rocker with a raucous chorus, something akin to The Jesus & Mary Chain playing at Happy Mondays for a laugh. Messy in a very good way, energetic, audacious and layered with clashing cymbals and buzzing, fuzzing guitar. Weren’t the two rockers on the debut album meant to sound like this? Possibly. The title is cribbed from “Flaming Red Hair”, the arrangement from a version of “Milk & Honey”, a tune they’ve been trying to nail since the OON sessions and which has been through several incarnations. The version I might have heard a few times has a wonderful, anti-gravity, Spiritualized-esque intro, and a wonderful string arrangement to close which reminds of REM for some reason. It also has a slightly dodgy, tacked-on chorus pinched from a song called “Forever Young” which they played at the RAH years ago. It was very good, apart from the dodgy chorus. Anyway, “Soldier’s Hours” is a 3-minute fuzzrocker, and I like it. It would get on the long-form version of The Infamous Nick Southall-Approved Embrace B-Sides Compilation CD.

Madelaine
This is going to become a firm, firm favourite with fans. Scorched ballad, with perhaps the most honestly autobiographical lyrics Danny’s ever written, detailing his failing lovelife despite the level of fame and success he has achieved – witness “don’t let it go / I feel like everyone’s calling my name and I’m still alone / you ought to know / that I would change everything just to sing to you when you’re alone / and later I’ll wade in again / over my head / all my mind / I wanted to see what you meant / and I’m out of time / I’m useless and stupid / I suppose if I had you I’d let you go / there’s something inside me which stops me / I wish I could break its hold”. The titular girl (“I wanted to feel how I felt on that day I met Madelaine”) is incidental in identity; she’s a signifier for the idea of being in love with love rather than in love with a person. Our protagonist is infatuated with infatuation, and once the decline to steady company and easy passing time begins, once the butterflies and dizzy headaches begin to pass, he panics that it’s over and that he feels nothing. He’s said in the past that he worries he doesn’t feel things as strongly as other people do, doesn’t experience emotions in the same way others do. I used to think the same. Perhaps he’s an emotional adrenaline-junky, hooked on the fix of intense empathic sensation either positive or negative, the peaks and troughs, and unable to appreciate and live with the middling, semi-contented (medicated?) calm we mostly walk through in a daze, finding it claustrophobic. Perhaps that’s why he needs to be onstage, needs to be singing, needs to heighten his sense of awareness and be the centre of attention, repeatedly loading himself into a gun, placing himself in a position that many of us would fear intensely (but still love to be able to do). Sonically “Madelaine” starts quietly, piano and guitar, but it grows across four minutes, Richard adding layers of guitar until it becomes powerfully laden with noise, strafing and rising like Johnny Greenwood or Nick McCabe used to do, matching and then beating his brother for intensity. “Madelaine” is very, very good, and would get on the uber-discerning 10-track b-sides comp CD, never mind the long-form version.

The Final Say
Quite poppy to start, acoustic strum a la “Hooligan” or “Save Me” perhaps (actually sounds very familiar) but quieter. Some excellent, cheeky, really poptastic backing vocals over the verse, and a big dynamic lurch into the chorus that might have been described to me as being like “Caught In A Rush”. It is, I guess, but less jarring. A guitar bit, a chorus, more ace backing vocals; this is good, very competent, very nice tune. Apparently it was in the running to be on the album but was too “…cheeky?” according to a certain guitarist. I need to listen to it more – it’s the one that’s grabbed me least thus far.

Milk & Honey
You could call it tactical voting or gerrymandering or just plain finnickitiness, but this is the tune that “Gravity” replaced on OON. Is it better than Chris’ present? There’s more to it, certainly, it swells and grows more. The arrangement’s better (check Wil Malone’s awesome string arrangement, which kind of morphs into “Everybody Hurts” at the end). Some great guitar, some great vocals (and good lyrics). Confusion as to which bit was the chorus caused them to get fed up of the arrangement and bugger around with it excessively (spawning “Soldiers Hours”). The whole arrangement is great, actually – starting like Spiritualized (I’m informed it was aiming for The Velvet Underground, but Embrace doing Velvets practically IS Spiritualized) and building up and up from there. Good organs, a bit weightless, to start, and well placed bass to just buoy it up a bit further. In any other world, with any other band, this would have been a single. The middle-section (chorus?) is evolved from the tune “Forever Young” which was played at the RAH gig in 2001/2, and almost, perhaps, doesn’t quite fit as it should (a touch Lego, maybe), but the intro, outro, verse, bridge and performance more than make up for it. Straight onto the Ultimate B-sides CDR ahead of “Maybe I Wish” and any of the other “big song” type b-sides.

Red Eye Shot
Ask and ye shall receive. Possibly. It’s kinda weird. I started a thread asking if Embrace should do another instrumental, and suggesting that one as a b-side would be great. I mention Brian Eno a lot on the board. And what happens? An instrumental with shades of Brian Eno appears on the next single. They’re too good to me. But bizarre ego-trip fantasies aside for a moment, this is fucking great. I love it. Starts like Eno and then morphes into Coldplay doing Mogwai – meaning big guitars, postrock dynamic, and a defiantly rising piano line that binds it all together. I’ve waited years for them to do soemthing like this. Was recorded in Spain in one take (with edits but no overdubs apparently) and initially called “Sig From Birth” due to the band thinking it sounded like Sigur Ros. Yet another tantalising glimpse of things to come. (I have, incidentally, heard some other stuff from that Spain trip, briefly. Be excited. Danny was also extremely keen on telling me how much the next album would be up my street. I cannot wait.)

Feels Like Glue
I’ve been very careful not to tell people about this song for the last 13 months. Last April when I first heard the album session material, this was there too (as was “Milk & Honey” and perhaps some other stuff) and, frankly, it blew the back of my head off. 9 minutes of spacerock, like The Verve doing “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a gospel-pop thing rather than an opera-rock thing. The last three minutes are fucking extraordinary (they were used, along with the intro, in Josie Clyde’s Dropstitch snowboarding film). It might be my favourite song by them, if they hadn’t done loads of others. I was petrified when J told me it was going to be a b-side that they’d have edited it, because I couldn’t see what could be removed, despite the long intro and outro. It’s basically like a pop song slowed right down rather than a long song in its own right, if that makes sense. I’m delighted that this is finally seeing the light of day.

Hallelujah
This is odd, and difficult to get a handle on. People thought it would be an Embrace cover of a Buckley cover (meaning “Hallelujah” written by Leonard Cohen and popularised [in some circles] by that crap swimmer). If you think about it laterally, a Happy Monday thread of influence was much more likely, but the truth is somewhere else again. The truth is… psycho killer (but not Talking Heads). Amazingly deranged backing vocals, enormous drum swings, a strange lyric, in that it’s pretty straight forward seeming, but still somehow unsettling. Big uplifting middle 8, but the overall mood is one of uneasy threat, which is very weird when one considers that it’s basically a campfire strum+sing a long in superficial vibe. Opening piano note VERY similar to “How Come”.

And that’s that. For now.

NJS

5/18/2005 04:18:00 pm

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Hey Blogger. Very nice blog :0) I just got inside from washing and waxing my truck. It is my baby. Took me 2 hours though. So I settled down into my basement and started doing some web surfing. Anyways I am in the process of grabbing my masters degree and have spent the last 6 months researching beginner guitar. In the midst of my surfing I landed smack dab in the middle of your blog. I hope you do not think I am intruding but I must say it is great blog. Even though this post is way off base from beginner guitar I found myself cruising through your blog archives for the last half hour :0) You have some nice blogging friends. Anyways, I need to get back to my mission. I wrote don’t your url and feel free to visit me here at beginner guitar. I am so busy so I can only update my site monthly. Keep up the great work.

 
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Hey Blogger. Very nice blog :0) I just got inside from washing and waxing my truck. It is my baby. Took me 2 hours though. So I settled down into my basement and started doing some web surfing. Anyways I am in the process of grabbing my masters degree and have spent the last 6 months researching resonator guitar. In the midst of my surfing I landed smack dab in the middle of your blog. I hope you do not think I am intruding but I must say it is great blog. Even though this post is way off base from resonator guitar I found myself cruising through your blog archives for the last half hour :0) You have some nice blogging friends. Anyways, I need to get back to my mission. I wrote don’t your url and feel free to visit me here at resonator guitar. I am so busy so I can only update my site monthly. Keep up the great work.

 
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Anonymous guitar lyric - 6:04 pm

Hey Blogger. Very nice blog :0) I just got inside from washing and waxing my truck. It is my baby. Took me 2 hours though. So I settled down into my basement and started doing some web surfing. Anyways I am in the process of grabbing my masters degree and have spent the last 6 months researching resonator guitar. In the midst of my surfing I landed smack dab in the middle of your blog. I hope you do not think I am intruding but I must say it is great blog. Even though this post is way off base from resonator guitar I found myself cruising through your blog archives for the last half hour :0) You have some nice blogging friends. Anyways, I need to get back to my mission. I wrote don’t your url and feel free to visit me here at resonator guitar. I am so busy so I can only update my site monthly. Keep up the great work.

 
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Sad to say I just got back from a bowling tournament and decided to log in and do some websurfing. Blogger I love your blog. I had some very good laughs. I am doing a paper on christian guitar and have been downloading information for the last hour. I don’t know how I came across this post but I am glad I did. It has set me back a little because I have spent the last hour reading your archives. If you don’t mind I would like to add you to my favorites so I can back again and read some more. Well I need to get back to christian guitar. I am almost finished with it. Great job.
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Well I just got back from the gym and I am beat. I am currently doing some research on and stumbled across your blog. Which cracks me up really. The internet can certainly land you off base sometimes. Even though this post is not completely related I think it is a cool blog. I have read back through the archives and lots of people make some very good points. Well I have been on-line forever it seems. I need to continue to plug away at . If you have the energy swing by . I try to update my site weekly and maybe you will see something you like. I already snagged your URL and put it in my favorites. If you do not mind I will be back again. Great job!

 
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All I can say is WOW Blogger. The other half and I just got back from our friends house (well her friends house) and I needed a huge break. I am working on a project right now that is based on alvarez guitar. I have literally been on-line for 2-3 hours doing research. Even though this post really isn’t on the same page as alvarez guitar I am certainly glad I came across your blog. There are a ton of great view points on this blog. Well I think I can here the kids screaming in the background. I put you in my internet favorites and I will certainly come back and visit. If you want to take a peek at my site you can find me here at alvarez guitar. I update my site very frequently. Again, great job blogging and I will be back again soon!

 
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Hi Blogger your blog is really great! Wow :-) As I was out blog surfing and surfing the web for detailed info on beginner guitar I stumbled across your blog. Obviously my search landed me here and it is a little off subject compared to this post, but I am certainly glad I did come across your blog. Did I already tell you I like it! If you would not mind, I would like to add your link to my "favorites" page to come back and read again sometime. Should you ever need it, there's lots of information on this site about beginner guitar. Again, great blog and keep up the great work!
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