This is a review of "Sabbatical" recorded by This Et Al. The review was written by Maria Pinto-Fernandes in 2006.
Track 1 'Sabbatical' smacks of everything that the said collective stand for: retaining the sound which has garnered them a huge fanbase and critical acclaim from all echeleons of music press. Wu's hauntingly beautiful vocals are layered with swirls of gorgeously violent guitars in such a way that the listener cannot help being taken on a journey by the single; another sign of the imminent national if not global success that This Et Al surely know they will soon reap the glory-filled rewards of. For this effect has so far only been exploited for a fantastic advantage by Bloc Party... and we all know what happened to them. This Et Al do more than your average of the current indie crop: they don't just make the music, they break the musical boundaries both in recorded form and even more profoundly and unabashedly live as any fan not unlike myself will testify.
'Solemn As My Rifle' sees the band taking off in another direction as all four members gel together magnificently ;leading in with heavy guitars. Wu's vocals again jump to another strength but not unaided; without the effortless talent of his fellow This Et All-ers he would be amazing, but with Steve, Ben and Gavin in tow; he is unstoppable. The sheer capacity of the band to thrill is demonstrated all the more powerfully on track two as the song is mostly an instrumental,however truly, no bad thing for as any music fan worth their salt knows: at the heart of any good band lies musicianship not to be challenged and This Et Al are of course, no exception to the rule.
Ah 'The Loveliest Alarm' a This Et Al gem that I now have in my possession to keep but wait: tampered goods? Oh, label mate Gavron Yes Boss' remix? Oh yes this is nothing short of absolutely fucking amazing. Although hip-hop is largely discarded by the indie elite, Dance to the Radio-endorsed artists easily schmooze their ways into indie kids' i-Pods everywhere. A collaboration? Hell, I might as well adopt street speak in my drain pipes, over-sized sunglasses and polka dots. The fusion of hip-hop and indie never ceases to fascinate and cause admiration and Gavron should be applauded. Again. He makes the somewhat polished taste of This Et Al accessible to the distance hip-hoppers; and with their appalling record collections, it's a well done from me.