Review Summary: A post-rock gem that shines brightest in the summer sunEmbark Embrace
revealed itself to me in a way I never expected-- through a close friend’s recommendation. I start by mentioning this because we sometimes forget how helpful it is to just ask a friend what music we should pursue. After all, they not only understand the genres we enjoy, but the moods we’re looking to capture. It’s no secret that math rock has interested me over the last month, so is it a surprise I’d be so damned content with Enemies’ latest release?
Indeed, it's the kind of album one comes across rarely-- this much is obvious from its opening moments. When “Executive Cut” jubilantly kicks off the record, it’s clear Enemies is going for the cheery brand of post-rock record for which And So I Watch You From Afar aimed just a few months ago. But despite the similarities Embark Embrace
holds to All Hail Bright Futures
, though, the album differs in that it accomplishes all it sets out to. There aren’t loose ends or missteps here-- one song from the next is pure, unadulterated gold, ready to glisten in the summer heat if you permit it to.
The album resides in one particularly enlarged sector of post-rock these days, that being the whole tropical and math-oriented style Ireland’s specialized in lately. But this record still brings its own flair, because it utilizes the style’s eccentricities in a subdued manner. Instead of the expected utilization of more obscure instruments we perceive as ‘tropical,’ Enemies creates the sounds of the beach through its rock instruments. Whether achieved through fat guitar leads, infectious basslines or dynamic effect usage, the sonic palette Embark Embrace
brings to the table puts the record miles ahead of its contemporaries, because it's summery without trying too hard.
It isn't just about the keen grasp the album has on summer, though. I consistently find myself enamored with the atmosphere Embark Embrace
presents, and with the lively sense of musicianship at hand throughout. When I hear the steady pace of “Unit Shifter,” when the entire duration of “Indian Summer” plays itself off as a huge party anyone would want to be a part of, I’m reminded of why I ever thought music could solve anything in my life. Because once upon a time, before I ever thought anything of the ratings we gave to music, I was only interested in what I received from the music-- what it gave me.
Although it’s difficult to approach music from the same doe-eyed mindset I once did, there are records that rekindle that fire every now and then, and make me want to find the feeling this album gives me, but in every corner of music I possibly can. I’m positively convinced Embark Embrace
was tailored exclusively for me, because much of this album seems to function with my expectations in mind. And it delivers-- when I hear that one part
in “Love Unlimited,” other things simply don’t matter. My life’s problems still exist, but they pause for an instant, just long enough for the sunshine to pour in. The funny thing about Embark Embrace
is that its light keeps flowing-- there isn’t an end to the process, but just more sunshine. And I’m still figuring out what I can give it in return.