For early 2007...
Zoheir Beig
19:21 30th November 2006

The first time this writer heard This Et Al it was in the form of a Dance To The Radio compilation earlier this year. Despite sharing space with the magnificent likes of The Pigeon Detectives and Snow White, the Leeds’ five-piece’s ‘The Loveliest Alarm’, which married a restrained take on the sprawling instrumentals associated with the likes of Godspeed! to the soaring, elegiac dynamic of Bloc Party’s quieter moments, still stood out like James Blunt at a Klaxons gig. A few months down the line and said track opens This Et Al’s limited edition first pressing of ‘Baby Machine’, a debut record which, if there’s any justice, will be snapped up by a major in super quick time and then sold to the masses as “the album Mogwai would make were Josh Homme frontman”.

Much of the credit for ‘Baby Machine’ and it’s glistening/crunching sound can be placed at the feet of producer Richard Green. His short-lived 90s prog-outfit Ultrasound were poster boys for ambition and wanton excess, (not to mention forerunners of Muse), whose debut album ‘Everything Picture’ was, brilliantly, a double disc set. Thankfully the quality control on evidence here is slightly higher, as the 39-minutes are packed with shifts in texture, melodic nuances and cascading waves of noise that sound like they were cribbed from every art student’s record collection, yet stand alone as testament to This Et Al’s imagination and, crucially, massive potential.

‘Catscan’s incensed refrain “I’ve never heard anyone say, 'fuck you' to the man!” is to be taken with a pinch of salt on a record that spends nearly every track essaying the ills of society. This Et Al have described ‘Baby Machine’ as exploring “the themes of boredom and betrayal”, and it’s an anti-everything streak particularly evident in the polemical ‘He Shoots Everything’, and ‘Can You Speak European?’, which takes as much glee in satirising anti-capitalists as the former track takes in holding a gun to the head of middle-class suburbia: “The pets have hung themselves/And he needs to get a new job and she needs a holiday” indeed.

This est valde.