Members of Municipal Waste, New Mexican Disaster Squad and None More Black are…
- Posted on Aug 11th 2010 2:30PM by Pat Pemberton
Embrace's formula for creating an anthem is pretty simple, really: Have a gazillion voices sing the chorus. That way, concert crowds will know exactly when to sing along -- your "Baby, we were born to run" moment, if you will. That formula helped the Britpop band's 'World at Your Feet' succeed as England's Official World Cup 2006 song. 'Ashes' was, appropriately, also used on the soundtrack for the EA soccer video game FIFA 06.
Though the song is more associated with soccer than with American football, it's also used in EA's latest commercial, for the just-released Madden NFL 11 football game, though we hear only the song's musical intro. But its dreamy, effects-laden guitar and grandiose piano (think: Coldplay) offers a sense that something big is about to happen -- in this case, the commercial's conclusion: "Be a part of it August 10."
But the band itself hasn't always come out victorious. After getting dropped from its label, Embrace had to stage an impressive comeback worthy of a Peyton Manning metaphor.
Embrace was formed by brothers Danny and Richard McNamara in the mid-'90s. Their first album, in 1998, spawned comparisons to Oasis and the Verve, and was a No. 1 hit in the UK. In 2000, the band launched a critically acclaimed tour, supported by a fledgling band called Coldplay.
Despite the quick success, the band's sales soon stagnated, it was dropped by its label in 2002, and its members had to get day jobs that entailed welding and delivering water. But Chris Martin didn't forget his buddies, who continued to make music. The Coldplay frontman gave the song 'Gravity' to Embrace, helping the band launch a huge comeback with the 2004 album 'Out of Nothing.' The first track on that album was 'Ashes,' which quickly became a popular song for English sports highlights.
Befitting a comeback, the lyrics advocate resilience. And, of course, there's that trademark soaring chorus that makes it feel like a live track in which the singer has waved the mic toward the joyously singing crowd.
"We wrote the chorus to this song three years ago," Danny McNamara told the Brighouse Echo newspaper in 2004, "and it was one of the first things we got where we went, 'Yeah.'"
While the song was a vital chapter of the band's comeback, they've yet to score a touchdown in the United States. After playing to arenas and large amphitheaters in the U.K. in 2005, Embrace performed at the Satellite Lounge in Reno, Nev. -- a venue with a capacity under 100.
But as the guys have proved, it ain't over until the crowd of fat ladies sing the chorus.