Embrace Drawn From Memory

Embrace is a five-piece out of England that were the "next big thing" three years ago, when their debut album, The Good Will Out hit number one in the UK. They were often compared to Oasis for their sound and for their two songwriters, brothers Danny and Richard McNamara. While their debut was heavy on the "life-affirming anthems" and careless abuse of orchestral arrangements, the band marked a change with the single "Hooligan," released late last year. Hinting at a rougher, under-produced sound, the song contained the best kazoo solo, well ever! Drawn From Memory is the sound of a band starting over, and for good reason. Gone are the sympathetic ballads, and replacing them are some great rock songs. Opening track "The Love It Takes" is as emotional as any tear-dropper of the first album, but with more heart and less arrogance. That goes for the rest of the more romantic songs on here as well. "I Wouldn't Wanna Happen To You" and "You're Not Alone" are their most loveliest and sincere singles to date. New to the band is the carefree attitude that is displayed on the grunge sounding "Yeah You," the oriental tinge of "New Adam New Eve" and the Led Zeppelin-esque instrumental "Bunker Song." With the pressure of delivering a great sophomore album on every band's shoulders, Embrace can be happy that they have done that with this strong and sincere effort. (Virgin)