On 5th October 2007 at 10:15 Anonymous 5906 wrote...
One has to wonder if the reviewer was also too drunk by the time Wintermute came on to be aware of the audiences appreciation for the blinding set they played that night.
Live at The Library on Wednesday, 26th September 2007
These days, The Library looks like an enormous music venue, only scaled down.
It seems eerily suited to the This Et Al of old, draped as it is with imposing red and black curtains, but the recently-refurbished venue plays perfect host to all five - count 'em - acts on tonight's bill.
It starts with a big flying finger-V at the volume of tonight's other artists, as Paul Marshall takes to the stage, accompanied by a soothing voice and some extremely creative acoustic guitar work. The venue is thankfully quiet and appreciative as Marshall whisks through a delectable set of finely-crafted, stripped-down folk-pop pieces, the most memorable of which builds gently into a painfully gorgeous climax about a train capsizing into the sea. Trust me, somehow, it all makes perfect sense.
They Died Too Young, the only non-Leeds act on the bill tonight, are a surprise indeed. They bring to mind the late yourcodenameis:milo, or even our very own Itch, but what's important here is that they blast through their set with so much confidence and professionalism that it feels like I should be watching them in at least the Met. Unfortunately, They Finish Too Soon, having already proven themselves the band of the evening.
Not that the remaining acts aren't impressive in their own right. These Monsters are probably the best I've seen them: they're big, bold and adventurous, with a new sax player leading the way. Their brand of menacing, crushing post-rock creates a real atmosphere in the room, particularly with the hypnotic projection work going on behind them. From my experience, These Monsters are a hit-and-miss band, but tonight is most definitely a hit.
Wintermute doesn't quite work. On any other bill, the band's experimental indie stylings could potentially function fairly well, but 2007's Futuresound winners sound weak in comparison to the other four runners tonight. Their songs have some great individual sections, but they rarely go anywhere, and nearly every tune lacks a real hook. It's passable, certainly, but nothing beyond that based on this performance.
Headliners This Et Al, sporting yet another new bass player (it's like the Spinal Tap drummer thing, though whilst I can imagine founding member Gav suffering a bizarre gardening accident, I struggle to see first replacement Simon exploding any time soon), take to the stage dressed like a Tim Burton film, and their music is dark and brooding to suit. Tracks from debut album Baby Machine sound fantastic, crashing through the PA system like a caged animal straining for freedom, but it's the new material on offer tonight - distinctly Et Al but subtly different, more mature and courageous than before - that really stands out.
Afterwards, I go for curry with friends at a delightful little spot across the road, where I drunkenly offer to buy one comrade drinks, while another spills a glass of water over me. I'm too entertained by the gig to care.
"...bridges the chasm-divided demographics of indie-pop and post-punk excellently" www.drownedinsound.com
Requested personally by Swedish post-rock wonders 'Jeniferever' to be thier tour support, expect lush finger picked melodies ghosting underneath fragile vocal lines that place him somewhere between Nick Drake, Iron and Wine and Red House Painters.