Monday, 18 June 2012


Embrace were a band from Washington, D.C. who were active from the Summer of 1985 to the Spring of 1986.

Embrace consisted of Ian MacKaye on vocals (formerly of the Teen Idles, Minor Threat, and Skewbald/Grand Union at this point in time) as well as Michael Hampton (guitar), Chris Bald (bass), and Ivor Hanson (drums), who all previously played in the Faith. However, Embrace was certainly a departure from the hardcore sound its members had become renowned for. They, like many others, were part of "Revolution Summer", a movement in D.C. that sought to get away from the increasing violence within the hardcore scene that they started. This occurred in the Summer of 1985, with the first (and most noteworthy, along with Embrace) band being the seminal Rites of Spring. Embrace followed a similar path, in that they abandoned the fast-paced chainsaw-like assault of outward anger in favour of a more personal and introspective approach. This is clearly exemplified in Ian's lyrics. He maintains the personal, straight-forward approach in his lyrics, but shifts the topics being discussed from the exterior to the interior, making himself seem more vulnerable than any other one of his projects. This results in some gut-wrenching lines filled with truths nobody wants to hear. An even more drastic evolution occurs in the music itself. The Faith are a great band of course, but didn't stray too far from being typical of a hardcore band from D.C. at the time. In Embrace, however, it is clear that these three musicians are quite adequate on their respective instruments. I personally love Hampton's guitar playing. Rhythmic power chords, but with an element of lead playing that's normally crucified within hardcore. He's also got a great tone. Bald and Hanson also bounce back and forth to create some interesting rhythms, where Bald's melodic lines and Hanson's tight drumming compliment each other perfectly.

Embrace, despite their very short time as a band, were groundbreaking and seminal in the development of "emo", "post-hardcore", "punk", "hardcore", or whatever term you wish to apply to them. They brought music from one place to another, and that certainly warrants recognition. They released exactly one album, which is self-titled on Dischord (obviously) in 1987, a year after they broke up. In 2002, this album was re-mastered and included alternate versions of two songs, "Money" and "Dance Of Days", which I included if you want to check them out.

1. Give Me Back
2. Dance Of Days
3. Building
4. Past
5. Spoke
6. Do Not Consider Yourself Free
7. No More Pain
8. I Wish I
9. Said Gun
10. Can't Forgive
11. Money
12. If I Never Thought About it
13. End Of A Year
14. Last Song
15. Money (Alternate Version)
16. Dance Of Days (Alternate Version)


  1. Holy shit, i was looking for this album everywhere, thank you very much.
    Oh and the article is great too, keep up with the good work!

  2. Without a doubt, one of the bands that revolutionized the history of hardcore punk and how they saw and how we see things, and to this day when I hear Embrace feel my hell and my peace, I hear the destruction and reconstruction, see how this frequency says all I have to say, even when I do not mean anything, is actually one of the fucking bands I have ever had the pleasure of listening, thanks for the post !!!!!!!!!!

  3. Hello, i was looking for this album for a long time, finally i found it..

    Thanks! :)

    Best regards.

  4. I bought this lp in 1988 in our record store's used bin for very cheap. I looked at it only because I have never heard of the band. I saw it was a Dischord release and I bought it on that fact. I only knew Ian from Minor Threat, and I had not remembered the Faith guys' names. I was excited when I went to play it, but I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't hardcore. Somehow, however, I've always gone back to the album from time to time through the years. Now in 2015, I still listen to the album, and to tell you the truth, I like it so much more as the years roll by. I don't know about the 'emo' label. But I wonder if I talk to an 'emo' guy in So Cal and mention Embrace if he would relate? I don't know. Hmm. Anyway, thanks Sofie for your site. Like it.