Label: ATP Recordings Release date: 11/05/09 Website: It has seemed at times that I was destined never to critique this album. The review copy utilised the Draconian anti-piracy measure of having every track cut off abruptly and prematurely.  It is the second time I have encountered this technique and it makes very little sense to me – it is akin to inviting a critic to review your restaurant and then proceeding to whip each successive course away before they have quite finished it. Last time we decided simply to not bother reviewing the album concerned (a welcome relief - it was awful) but I wanted to persevere with this one, not least because I was also researching the bands playing the upcoming ATP :The Fans Strike Back festival, and so I eventually managed to obtain a unadulterated copy.  Then on the morning I was due to depart on holiday my trusty old iPod finally gave up the ghost, leaving me without an mp3 player for a couple of weeks until I finally managed to figure out how to use my mobile instead. So was it worth the wait? Pretty much, yes. Like so many recent records, Embrace is defiantly retro – much of it sounding like it could have been created in the late 60s or early 70s.  It has a hippyish vibe to it, heightened by the dreamy vocals which lie somewhere between Ian Brown and The Monkees’ Davy Jones. This is especially apparent in the midst of ‘White Dove’ which, with its heavy Zeppelin-esque riffage, could almost be an outtake from The Second Coming.  But the real focus of this album is the searing lead guitar: drenched in wah wah and feedback and frequently approximating the sound of the first Stooges album to thrilling effect. At times it sounds a little too cliched and mired in the past, as on the opener ‘New Age’ which would not be out of place on the soundtrack to Hair, or the primitive rock of ‘Sleepy Son’.  But for the most part this is excused by the quality of the songs and musicianship.  ‘Snow Goddess’ sounds like Spaceman 3 played by Crazy Horse and ‘White Dove’ features an extended coda of acoustic guitar and harmonica of which Neil Young would be proud. Closing track ‘Duet With The Northern Sky’ features a lovely boy/girl call-and-response over a jaunty melody.  Best of all is the gospel blues of the title track where the stately piano-led verses are interrupted by increasingly (I’m gonna sound like the kid from Almost Famous here) incendiary and treacle-thick guitar. This is music to drop acid and freak out to, man!  Now can anyone fix me up for ATP? Rating: 7.5/10