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'It has got to be the absolute best' Embrace's Mike Heaton on the band's extended hiatus, new album and how he's itching to play live ...

Embrace drummer Mike Heaton has revealed the band is demo-ing dozens of tracks in a bid to produce their best album ever.

The popular Brighouse band, whose 1998 debut album The Good Will Out topped the charts, have been lying low since their 2006 release This New Day.

Last week, frontman Danny s McNamara posted a blog which vowed the indie five piece would produce 'a landmark album of fearless melody and fearless music' and said they would not be rushed into releasing it.

But speaking to WoW at the Centre Stage charity event in Leeds, Heaton revealed the band were currently working through up to 100 different tunes and were hopeful their sixth studio album would be out next year.

The indie five piece are currently holed up in a West Yorkshire studio and Heaton said while they were hopeful for a 2012 release they would not be rushed. "It's got to be the absolute best before it comes out, but we've got some definite tracks for the album already," he said.

"It's a great move forward, great energy, great power and great soul. "Songwriting wise it's gone through the roof and playing wise, I think the break's been great as we've done other things.

"I've been doing the drum school and Micky (Dale's) been doing his other band, Talk To Angels. "And Rick (McNamara's) in the production seat, he's producing the album, he's had four years experience producing some really great young bands.

"He's done an amazing job helping us to push the album forward." Heaton said while the band's time off had been great he was gagging to get back on stage.

He said: "We're just really eager now.

"It's not about being in the limelight, it's about playing live because that's why I got into music in the first place, and that's why I want to get back out there and play because that's what I love doing. "Everytime I come to Centre Stage and see these bands playing I want to be back out there doing it.

"We want to get on with it and get it out.

"Next year hopefully is when it's going to come out but we don't know if it's going to be early or later in the year, just when it's ready.

"We've waited this long, to push something and rush it out would be foolish."

Heaton also made no apologies for the lengthy hiatus and said he thought it had made them stronger.

"It was the first time in 13 years that we had a break so it was nice to do it," he said.

"We all went away and I got involved with teaching and The Hop (pub).

"Rick went into production work with bands and had a bar himself. "The six months we said we'd take off expanded into three years. "But then we said this is what we love doing so we got back in the studio and started writing at the beginning of last year.

"Now we've got a massive bunch of songs and we're just filtering them, demo-ing them all.

"We'll bring it down to the final 10, because we always want to do the best we can.

"We'll go through 70, 80 or 100 and filter them down to the best 10."

Singles OH MY!: Dirty Dancer. Grime pop about as irritating as Toni Basil's 80s hit Mickey but this one's obsessed with actor Patrick Swayze who died in 2009. It may be in your face but don't let it get in your head whatever you do. Let's hope it doesn't catch on.

THE WOMBATS: 1996. Always fear songs with dates as the titles especially as they're viewing 15 years ago through nostalgic eyes. It's no coincidence this guitar-led romp has so many synth rock leanings it could have come from the 1990s.

STOOSHE: Betty Woz Gone. The video went viral to the point of bubonic plague when it notched up 100,000 hits in a single day. Boisterous piano-rolling grind funk that tells the tale of a mum who prefers partying to caring for the kids.

MISSED YOU AT THE SHOW: Human. A real shame about their name as the Manchester band take their cue from the likes of Biffy Clyro, Paramore and The Killers with their euphoric melodic pop.

Albums DAVID LYNCH: Crazy Clown Time. The film director who looks at life from the dark side so much it's pretty much pitch black has done some musical collaborations in the past but this is his first debut album that's not surprisingly oh-so-strange. Nothing's ever as it seems with him - the audacious percussion on She Rise Up gives it the ambience of escaping steam while Lynch's powerful, dark and idiosyncratic vision of new blues is as foreboding and hypnotic as it is enigmatic. It twists and turns from doomed romance to dark revenge and proves that clowns can be frightening.

THE CUBICAL: It Ain't Human. Rasping, dirty, low slung garage blues but they're romantics at heart with lines like "are we lovers now until the bitter end?'' They hail from Liverpool with growling frontman Dan Wilson so gruff he sometimes makes Lemmy sound like Aled Jones as it draws a line from the Mississippi Delta direct to the River Mersey.

PORTUGAL. THE MAN: In The Mountain In The Cloud. There's no easily accessible veneer to the oddly-named Portugal. The Man. What you see isn't necessarily what you get as they plunge into their own world inhabited by flashes of 70s glam rock and American pop with a psychedelic vein pumping lifeblood into the tracks. Often far off and far out.


* WORK IN PROGRESS: Embrace drummer Mike Heaton said: "We've waited this long, to push something and rush it out would be foolish."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2011
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