This Et Al / Baby Machine / 2007
I mentioned This Et Al in a previous article, mostly giving a brief summary of what their music is like and highlighting their strongest song “Wardens,” a post-whatever mix of heavy guitars and strong drums, a summation of largely catchy proportions. Their whole album, believe it or not, speaks volumes from where this song comes from; an equally startling mix of the heavy and light. This interchange rests on the themes versus the instrumentation, a sort of early Bloc Party essence of heavy lyrical theme amidst catchy composition that turns the mundane into the instantly likable.
The opening track sets the vibe for the entire album, as “The Lovelist Alarm” begins quietly and eventually crescendoes into a foot stomping, eerie mix with a heavy foreboding air that sets the precedent for later songs such as “Cabin Hum,” a haunting piece low on vocals but abundant with a rich, poignant melody and a chilling finish. Most of the songs are short but the quality over quantity adage applies, as all of the songs are unique in their own right but manage to create a lasting impression on the listener as the songs blend seamlessly, one after the next. What’s great about the music, and refreshing after electronic artists like The Knife dominated much of 2006, is the organic quality brought to the songs and rather than exuding a nonchalance when it comes to the lyrics, the passion is clearly evident.
The album starts with urgency and ends with the same sentiment, leaving the listener yearning for more, always a telltale sign of a longtime keeper, as “Transmit the Ends” finishes with the aplomb of “The Lovelist Alarm.” While it’s not something I would have taken notice of right away, the continual playing of the disc keeps me enthralled and more often than not, surprised by something I hadn’t noticed before. Not bad for a debut album.