U.K.’s Embrace back in action after long hiatus 

Embrace is playing San Francisco to promote its 2014 album “Embrace.” - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Embrace is playing San Francisco to promote its 2014 album “Embrace.”

Danny McNamara didn’t intend to disappear from the music scene for eight years. But circumstances surrounding his British band Embrace went beyond his control, starting with 2006’s “This New Day” – the followup to 2004’s hit album “Out of Nothing” – which never got released in the U.S.

“Artistically, that record left us feeling unfulfilled, hollow, and like we’d compromised, and it turns out that doesn’t really sit well with us. So we went away. And we didn’t put out another record until last year,” he says.

The group, which includes McNamara’s guitarist brother Richard, returns to The City this week, backing its sixth album “Embrace,” with keyboard-buttressed anthems like “Refugees,” and “Protection” and Britpop rockers “In the End” and “Follow You Home.”

The singer makes no bones about it. After “Day,” he mothballed his guitar and managed to pen only four solid songs: “You can go weeks and months without getting anything, and it gets a bit torturous. Songs are like buses – you don’t get one for ages, and then several come along all at once,” he says.

In his down time he tried the impresario life, opening a nightclub in Manchester, where he booked new talent. Disenchanted, he sold it. Upon a friend’s suggestion, he turned visual short stories and novellas he had been writing into screenplays.

At first, the idea was daunting: “The format is quite complicated, and you’ve got to learn how to write a script, almost, before you can actually write one. But I started last year, and I found it really easy.”

The musician – who got married two weeks ago – writes with his wife, and they have two movies and five television shows in development in the U.K.

“Producers are literally chomping at the bit for me to write more,” he says.

One BBC submission is called “Anonymous,” about an amnesia patient who gradually realizes that everyone wants to kill him. “Another is about a heartbroken narcissist, a rock and roll singer who slides into madness,” adds McNamara, who has used his blog to discuss a debilitating three-year bout with PTSD he suffered in his youth.

“In the past, I’ve had all kinds of demons chasing me around in my head,” he says. “Now, I’ve got loads of song ideas, and loads of script, film and TV ideas instead. I guess my brain needs to be full of something, otherwise the devil makes work for idle hands!”


Embrace, with Starsailor

Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. June 3

Tickets: $25

Contact: (415) 522-0333, www.slimspresents.com

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Tom Lanham

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