Embrace’s Danny McNamara: ‘We didn’t want to come back until we’d bettered our debut’

The band announce details of new EP 'Refugees' and album

Embrace have announced details of their first release in eight years.

The band will release a new EP, ‘Refugees’, on February 17, with their seventh album, ‘Embrace’, following on April 28. Scroll down to hear new song ‘Refugees’ now.

Speaking to NME, frontman Danny McNamara explained the band had been away so long because they were unwilling to return with an album unless it was better than their 1998 debut ‘The Good Will Out’. “That was the rule we set, and I think we’ve done that. If I was going to explain Embrace to a person that had never heard us, I’d play them ‘All You Good, Good People’, from our first album, ‘Ashes’ from ‘Out Of Nothing’ and this new album from start to finish,” he said.


“Some people who’ve heard the single have said it’s not what they’d expect from us and that it doesn’t sound like Embrace, but I think we’ve always moved things forward and tried new things. We’ve been away for quite a while, and for us this feels like natural evolution.”

Of the band’s lengthy break, McNamara added it had begun with a period of not wanting to play guitar or write songs, even going as far to purposefully forget songs he had written so they wouldn’t have to be recorded. “After the last album (‘This New Day’) I became so disillusioned with the whole thing,” he revealed. “We had all the success we wanted but it turns out it’s not about that. It’s about really reaching people with your work.

“Eventually the writing bug came back, as I think it does with all creative people who lose their motivation. Rich (Richard McNamara) got it first, he was working in a studio, and wrote some stuff that sounded like nothing we’d ever done before, and then I started writing again and it all spiralled from there. We’ve been writing since then and I’ve been telling people the album would be finished ‘in a month or so’ for the last five years. We didn’t think it would take so long, but were in no rush. We actually finished the album last week.”

During their career, Embrace have performed numerous secret gigs, with clues posted for fans in unlikely places. They recently posted several YouTube videos trailing a new batch of clandestine concerts, videos featuring McNamara covered in marker pen and paint. Of these he said: “The first one is for Secret Gig 19, and there’s a second trailer for Secret Gig 20, and there’s a third for Secret Gig 21. The first features music from the last song on the new album.

“All the videos we’re doing tell one coherent story. The video for the lead track off the EP, ‘Refugees’, is the last one in the sequence and the next single will be a prequel to all that, telling how I got into that state. There’s this Picasso quote that goes something like ‘Politicians lie to hide the truth, artists tell lies to reveal it’ so it’s along those lines. I try to amp everything up and make it seem more real.”

Embrace also announced a small series of gigs for February. They play:


Dundee Fat Sam’s (February 13)
Aberdeen The Lemon Tree (14)
Forres The Loft (15)
Inverness Ironworks (16)

To check the availability of Embrace tickets and get all the latest listings, head to NME.COM/tickets.