This Embracer was written by Josh Hummerston, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Macon Oxley
The self-proclaimed indie/alternative four-piece are renowned for their sense of brooding musicality and emotive lyrical content, whilst implicating strong melodies and expressive instrumentation. On their latest venture, ‘Mend’, the band undoubtedly deliver.
Featured as the last track on 2014’s ‘My Father’s Will’, first track on the ‘Mend’ EP, ‘A Man Without a Country’, offers a more stripped back rendition, featuring only vocalist Jordan Bradley and an acoustic guitar. Even though more instrumentally sparse than its predecessor, it has lost nothing in terms of the sonic grandiosity that is produced through the vocal powerhouse that is Bradley.
The beauty of such orchestration enables it to feel much more intimate than would have been possible with a full band. Even though the song remains astounding with the entire line up, one can’t help but feel that it seems more heartbreakingly poignant through Bradley’s direct and powerful delivery about the deeply personal troubles of an alcoholic father and disaffected mother. Bradley’s vocals float above delicate picking and gentle strumming, building to a powerful climax as he sings, “you ain’t no father. You ain’t no man”, evidently showcasing the commendable vocal talent at his disposal.
In much of the same vein as the latter, ‘My Father’s Will’ offers another acoustic piece taken from the previous EP. Releasing variants of the same material is always a risk, as fans may be left feeling cheated at the lack of musical progress or expansion of content that the band produce, but, thankfully, Embracer feel like they are embracing their musical versatility through a handful of songs that ultimately highlight their prowess as songwriters as well as musicians. Sounding eerily familiar to ex-Emarosa and current Slaves’ vocalist Jonny Craig, Bradley delivers his strongest vocal performance of the EP as he ascends and descends with all the grace and effortless elegance of any professional-tier vocalist.
With the back-to-basics mentality, the lyrics shine through more prominently on these acoustic performances, incidentally making the listener appreciate the enthralling storytelling and heart-rending anecdotes that are often overlooked in favour of melody and instrumentation. Tales of heartbreak and crumbling families are at the focal point of lyrical content throughout, and are expertly delivered through a strong sense of melody and pensive storytelling.
Whereas the first two tracks are reworkings of existing songs, final track ‘Remission’ is the only song to have not been featured on any previous album, and is thus the only new song on offer on the ‘Mend’ EP. Opening with subtle and glistening chords, the song drifts gently into an uplifting and soothing number that accommodates yet more impressive melodies and harmonies that to and fro between Bradley and guitar. Definitely one of their strongest songs to date, the future looks blindingly bright for the Charlestown-based four-piece.
With this EP being more of a release that seems to tide fans over whilst also providing a brief insight into what the future holds, ‘Mend’ effectively demonstrates the solid songwriting and potent vocal capabilities of Embracer. With such promising potential and great musicianship, Embracer are set to take the world by storm, breaking one heart at a time.
The EP is available for free download on October 10th via Take this to Heart Records.