Melbourne-based group Total Control specialise in post-punk perverted by an absurdist creative approach. Between their 2014 debut, ‘Typical System’, and their most recent release ‘Laughing At The System’, the groups only creative constant is their refusal to submit to the tropes and trends of the post-punk idiom.
From the album opener, one can clearly hear the groups radical creativity bursting forth. ‘Laughing At The System, Pt. 1’ is a presentation of metallic synths, jagged percussion, and distorted bass that combines to evoke an image of unionized workers protesting from the floor of a dingy, flame-lit steel mill. The industrial soundscape – reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails – is abandoned in track two, ‘Future Crème’, which adopts similar instrumentation to a more laid back, sun-kissed effect.
On ‘Her Majesty, Budgie’ the record expands its creative reach with a composition of broken-chords sounded by glittering synthesizers. Recalling the movie soundtrack to Blade Runner by Vangelis, the track likewise evokes the mood of a dystopic world, fraught beyond repair, yet still possessive of serene beauty. “Ha, Ha, Ha, as the thread comes loose” is the lyric that best encapsulates the albums sense of dejected nonchalance, of a casual despondency mustered together by a comprehension of the futility of a recoup of sorts.
If acoustic instruments can represent nature, and synthesizers man-made objects, then this near-album closer is the final dance before pure, human frustration. Album closer ‘Laughing At The System, Pt. 2’ is the manifestation of the raw anger and frustration fuelling the albums creative fire. Giving into post-punk tropes with gritty, up-tempo guitars, and vehemently yelled lyrics, ‘Laughing At The System Pt. 2’ is a deeply satisfying close to an unexpectedly eclectic album.