Sunday, July 3, 2016

Total Control

As The Motel's Total Control is Song of the Day, here's a re-post for something about a band who took their name from it, and their most recent album which I discovered last December.

Song(s) of the Day # 686 Total Control

'Total Control's Typical System from last year has been the other album I've been listening to this week, along with Andy Shauf's Bearer of Bad News. The two records couldn't be more different but they're both wonderful, assured pieces of work. While Shauf is deeply introverted, Total Control is an assault of sound and ideas.

A collective from Melbourne, Australia with a shifting line up of musicians involved in a range of other projects. They're a very modern collective, although they might not sound it on the surface. Their sound is rooted in seventies Punk and Post Punk. Synthesiser keyboards are a huge part of their sound and over the course of the album you hear snippets of Tubeway Army, PiL, Joy Division, Psychedelic Furs, Gang of Four, Wire, Mission of Burma, the original Ultravox, Suicide, Human League and Pere Ubu. Even The Stranglers at one or two points. The band apparently were also inspired by the California Hardcore scene and groups like The Adolescents and The Screamers, who I'm less familiar with.

They never echo one particular influence too much too irritate however, and what they make of the ingredients is strikingly original and at times overwhelming over the course of Typical System. It's difficult to tell what they're singing about often but there's clearly a great deal of intent in what they're doing. In Liberal Party, they actually successfully revive and reinvigorate that weird, otherworldly feel of the first Roxy Music album, most obviously Ladytron. There's a fair feel for glamour and sensuality here along with the full on assault of every other track.

They must be a remarkable experience live. Also it's well worth tracking down the few interviews on the net with lead singer Dan Stewart. You might like to start here, or here to get a sense of the overall philosophy behind what they're doing.In the meantime, the record speaks fairly forcefully for itself.'

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