This Et Al

Jennifer Roberts 02/12/2005

Emo. Such a small word. But one that has the nasty habit of casting not only doubt, but occasionally fear, in the minds of the ignorant. It's not just extreme black haircuts, compulsory scarves and stripy tees. Forget the attire; it's the music that's essential. For those unacquainted, it can be seen as purely MTV-endorsed Taking Back Sunday clones. But it is so much more, especially if subtly mixed with the dark sounds of The Fall and a sprinkling of Rites of Spring - true 'emotive hardcore', and this is exactly what we hear tonight.

In a haze of red and black, the uniformed This et al take to the stage. Opening with a wall of sound hitting you face-on, there is no escaping as they begin with 'A Letter to The Most Real'. Despite its ethereal intro and wispy vocals, it soon descends into a flurry of aggression. Causing havoc with your eardrums, the guitars are expansive and dangerous, threatening to explode, but carefully reigned in by the tight drumming and driving tempos from Steve Wilson.

Singer Wu (Neil Widdop) effortlessly alters the tension between the aggressive 'You've Driven For Miles And Not Remembered A Thing' and the softer interludes of 'The Loveliest Alarm', which shows a change from all other angsty riffs, making it their own with the penetrating beat and edgy hooks.

Their newest release 'Wardens' crams louder, more insistent guitars and Matt Bellamy wailings into the repeated line “We are marching to Moscow tomorrow”. The despondent lyrics covering political outlooks and the futility of life lends itself perfectly to the genre but adds a slick layer of frantic, menacing melodies. They have a sound that can carry, and will surely transport them to larger crowds, and the final, anthemic 'He Shoots Presidents' seems set to do just that.