Total Control: Typical System review – exceptional leftfield synth-punk

(Iron Lung/La Vida Es Un Mus)

These Melbourne weirdos' 2011 debut, Henge Beat, was a really exceptional leftfield rock record – one of the best to come out of Australia's underground in recent years, and there's a lot of strong competition in that area, not least from the members' own other bands – and this follow-up is perhaps even better. They're still in the business of shunting messy, fleshy guitars and steely, machine-dream synths together in terrifically unobvious ways here, and doing it with more depth and breadth than ever. There's the dense, metronomic punk chug of Expensive Dog; Black Spring's needling, alien boogie; and on Flesh War, a real goosebumps moment when singer Daniel Stewart's icy, deadpan boom breaks into a shockingly pretty synth-pop chorus. Postpunk, hardcore, krautrock and odd, spacey lounge-jazz are all sucked up and bent brilliantly out of shape over the course of an album that's abrasive but accessible, awkward but assured. Properly special stuff.


Tom Hughes

The GuardianTramp

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