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Total Control's debut album 'Henge Beat' was a big hit around the office and remains a regular fixture on my turntable, and this week the wait is finally over for a follow-up from the coldwavey synth punks. That first album took me a few listens to get into and I'm having the same problem today. I'm on my third run through and I still feel like I'm only beginning to properly absorb it. After an op ...

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REVIEWS

Typical System by Total Control
3 reviews. Write a review for us »
8/10 Mike 04 July 2014
Total Control's debut album 'Henge Beat' was a big hit around the office and remains a regular fixture on my turntable, and this week the wait is finally over for a follow-up from the coldwavey synth punks. That first album took me a few listens to get into and I'm having the same problem today. I'm on my third run through and I still feel like I'm only beginning to properly absorb it. After an opinion-dividing 7" on Sub Pop, their second album is on Iron Lung Records...yes, as in the power-violence duo.   The most immediate difference I'm noticing is that while 'Henge Beat' maintained a grindingly filthy tension between synthpop and punk whether guitars or synths were at the fore, 'Typical System' separates out these two extremes in a way that's well illustrated by its opening two tracks. Opener 'Glass' is a Depeche Mode-meets-Factory Floor synth stomp with monotone vocals and pounding drum machine, then 'Expensive Dog' U-turns into galloping garage rock with clattering real drums and crunching guitars.   The next song's back to the Depeche Mode-isms of the first, then the crunching and brilliantly titled 'Systematic Fuck' offers one of the album's highlights, a louche and jagged Fall/Parquet Courts downstroke groover with added sax which seems to have a second movement of sorts in 'Liberal Party', which brings in a rinky-dink drum machine, tinny guitar buzz playing in unison with the vocals, it's on this awkward little number where they best recreate that tension I was talking about before.   Over on side B 'Two Less Jacks' kicks off in scratchy automaton fashion a la A Frames/Servotron, satisfyingly spiky, followed by another highlight 'Black Spring', which is a dirty krautrock chug full of elastic guitar riffing and stony synth drones that gradually descends into a murky, chugging noise-fog. Then 'The Ferryman' sounds like a John Maus instrumental before we hit another hit, 'Hunter', which is a big ol' synth build-up like Buck Futtons do but with chanty vocals over the top, it's pulsating and euphoric and has some nice distorted drone action going on towards the end.   Closer 'Safety Net' I'm not too sure about, but maybe it'll grow on me. It seems plodding and unnecessary at the end of what is certainly my favourite side of this record. So there you have it, my comprehensive first impression of the new Total Control album. I'm not sure I like it as much as 'Henge Beat' and I'm not crazy about the more synthpoppy direction they've taken on some of the songs but when this band hit their stride they're still intimidatingly good.

8/10 Cath. 19th August 2014

Have been listening to this over and over and over again ... and I'm a child of the 80's ...

Love the variation of genre of this record which brings you from synth-pop to post-punk ...

Favourite track : "Two Less Jacks".

This band leaded me to a side project of one of their member : The UV Race, which I do recommend a lot !


10/10 Nicole 28th June 2014

The first time I listened to this album I wasn't sure what to think about it... It seemed to lack of consistency, from dancey 80s beats to raging melodies reminding more sonorities that could belong to a b-side from HENGE BEAT. After a few plays it started becoming an essential part of my daily listening and that's exactly when I realised I was wrong.

Apart from stating the obvious reference points (THE HUMAN LEAGUE, DEVO and KRAFTWERK to name a few, but I could go on for ages and this is not why I am writing this review) TOTAL CONTROL bring forward their own frantic mixture of tense post-punk and melodic synth leads. 'TYPICAL SYSTEM', the band's second full-length LP, is overall an impeccable album, full of different post-punk flavours crossing with darkwave beats. There's space for everything, from the incredibly catchy opening synth hook 'BLOODY GLASS' to the obsessing and positively exhausting 'HUNTER' - which may qualify as the best track on the album. Also worth noting are the lyrics, which come across very bitter, stark and poignant. Surreal subject matter displayed through the lens of shimmering synth, paranoid guitar sounds and repetitive bass lines. Highly recommended, let's hope someone will bring this band to the UK. Again.




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