With Coldplay's much-anticipated third disc, X&Y, recently opening at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart, Embrace, another Brit-pop band that sounds an awful lot like Chris Martin's crew, hopes U.S. listeners will welcome them with open arms too. And there is in fact plenty to embrace about this U.K. quintet's fourth CD (but only the second U.S. release), which came out overseas last September and has already spawned two Top 10 hits in England. One of those is "Gravity," a stately, piano-based ballad that was actually written by Martin, whose Coldplay once opened for Embrace in the pre-"Yellow" days. Almost all the other composing credit goes to the McNamara brothers—Danny (lead vocals/guitar) and Richard (lead guitar)—who invest these tunes with a melodic splendor and a moving earnestness. Highlights include the haunting title tune, a bittersweet love song; the soaring "Someday," with its lush orchestration and choir-like vocal arrangement; and "Spell It Out," which shuffles along an upbeat groove that belies the melancholy lyrics ("Here's my list of all the things I should have said and done/The boats I missed and all the fights I lost I really should have won"). Best, though, is "A Glorious Day," which is not an uplifting anthem à la U2's "Beautiful Day," but an ironically titled take on the destructive crutches that we all use. "You came along on a glorious day/By the time that you left I was crawling again," sings frontman Danny McNamara in his most angelic croon as the song builds from a quiet lullaby to a stadium sing-along. Glorious indeed.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "A Glorious Day"