Embellish, Wake Me Up! (March)

Posted January 17th, 2001 by admin · 1 Comment

Wake Me Up!
By: Eric G.

All I can say is that the people in this band must be getting laid often. What else could explain ten of the happiest, most unabashedly cheery guitar pop songs I've ever heard? Embellish is a Danish sextet sporting clean, poppy guitars, galloping bass lines, jaunty rhythms and syrupy boy/girl vocal harmonies. Obvious references like The Housemartins, The Beautiful South, and even Crowded House permeate almost every single song. Embellish doesn't subscribe to the retro-French pop chic trend that seems to be taking over European pop exports; instead, the band clearly prefers traditional guitar-based rock with just enough quirkiness to make it stand out.

The openness and pure giddiness of the songs might turn off those who prefer a little mystery or darkness in their pop. Embellish makes no apologies for its borderline cheese-factor, though. Hummable choruses and catchy hooks don't hurt anybody, but weak lyrics do. "Super Cool Girl" is a bad enough title and makes an even worse chorus, and Embellish draws it out dramatically- like it's some sort of insightful epiphany. It's a shame too because the guitars are sharp, clever even. In the verses vocalist Claus Hansen sounds like an unlikely cross between Daniel Ash and Paul Carrack, but all is lost when the chorus hits with its sappy refrain and Hansen's light-hearted falsetto.

"You" takes the cheese to a whole new level. It sounds like the theme song to a bad 80's sitcom. The innocuous production aside, lyrics like "you ooh ooh/you ooh ooh/you're the only one that matters to me" would make almost anyone want to listen to some Bullet Lavolta records at top volume. "Drug Deal" offers the first sign that, perhaps, this band isn't quite as squeaky clean as it seems. A taste of black humor pops up in the chorus: "she doesn't care who you are/even if you're a bum or a drug dealer." Juxtaposed with the melodramatic music, those lyrics actually sound pretty funny, especially the way Hansen belts them out with his crystalline voice.

And, of course, it's no surprise to stumble across a song called "Sunshine" on an album this happy-go-lucky. It's probably one of the best examples of Embellish's penchant for bouncy, carefree, Partridge Family-style pop. The faux-moodiness of the verse explodes into a joyous chorus of "bop bop bada bada" accompanied by piano and organ. The band clearly knows how to construct toe-tapping pop songs with grandiose choruses- that's not the issue. If Embellish could just reign in some of its sappier tendencies it could really grow into one of the premiere indie pop acts. As it is, though, Wake Me Up! is just too inconsistent.

Tags: review

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Julio // Jan 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Hi, I listen the song Ambivalence and they catch me, it’s great, but I can’t find the Wake me Up album, where can I download it? can you share it to me :D jojo …its hard to find things from this band, anyway, thanks