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 Leedsâ€™ five-pieceâ€™s â€˜The Loveliest Alarmâ€™, which married a restrained take on the sprawling instrumentals associated with the likes of Godspeed! to the soaring, elegiac dynamic of Bloc Partyâ€™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 Alâ€™s limited edition first pressing of â€˜Baby Machineâ€™, a debut record which, if thereâ€™s any justice, will be snapped up by a major in super quick time and then sold to the masses as â€œthe album Mogwai would make were Josh Homme frontmanâ€.
Much of the credit for â€˜Baby Machineâ€™ and itâ€™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 â€˜Everything Pictureâ€™ 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 studentâ€™s record collection, yet stand alone as testament to This Et Alâ€™s imagination and, crucially, massive potential.
â€˜Catscanâ€™s incensed refrain â€œIâ€™ve never heard anyone say, 'fuck you' to the man!â€ 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 â€˜Baby Machineâ€™ as exploring â€œthe themes of boredom and betrayalâ€, and itâ€™s an anti-everything streak particularly evident in the polemical â€˜He Shoots Everythingâ€™, and â€˜Can You Speak European?â€™, 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: â€œThe pets have hung themselves/And he needs to get a new job and she needs a holidayâ€ indeed.
This est valde.