Along with the Bay Area's Soft Moon, Melbourne's Total Control are bringing post-punk back in a big way. Is it derivative? Perhaps. But they do that whole Joy Division-meets-Cabaret Voltaire thing so well, I don't mind (see also Bauhaus and Wire; it just depends on the song). Plus, Mikey Young recalls the Chills' Martin Phillips (when he doesn't recall Ministry's Al Jourgensen): doubleplusgood.
This single doesn't appear on the album.
Granted, they can get carried away with the repetition at times, and their Swell Maps cover is too sloppy-drunk for my taste, but it goes with the synth-punk territory, and "The Hammer" makes up for any missteps. I haven't heard the entirety of their full-length yet, but here's the glowing Other Music review:
Boy howdy, is Mikey Young a busy dude. You may already know him as a member of Australian punk wunderkinds Eddy Current Suppression Ring, who to date have released three solid albums and a clutch of great singles (a fistful of which will be available on a new Goner singles comp in the next couple of weeks). In addition to that, though, he also does time in the Ooga Boogas, who strip ECSR's punk leanings to their most primitive urges. Best of all, however, might be Total Control, a twitchy, synth-driven post-punk combo whose debut album, Henge Beat, easily ranks among the best things the man has done. Originally released on vinyl, care of hardcore band/label Iron Lung (a version that's going fast, if not already gone), a recent CD of the album should hopefully give these 11 songs some wider recognition.
Opening with the Suicide-esque "See More Glass," Henge Beat wastes no time establishing itself, bouncing back and forth between frost-bitten, synth-drenched tunes like the former, and more immediately propulsive, early Wire/Swell Maps sounding scorchers like "Retiree." Elsewhere, the group goes dour with the drum machines and twinkling keys of "The Hammer," reminiscent of a low-rent Kraftwerk in the best possible way, while "Carpet Rash" mashes out in long form, with repetitive structures that almost sound like a more paranoid Fall. Which isn't to imply that this record is simply a cut and paste job of electronic and post-punk antecedents; instead, Henge Beat pounds impressively, alternately lulling and firing in ways that suggest this batch of influences can still be transformed into something entirely new and wholly essential. [Michael Crumsho]
When I shared the first track with my post-punk pal, Andrew Bishop, he wrote, "Kinda want a cover of 'Isolation' from these guys now." I can get with that program. So, what the fuck is going on in Melbourne these days? Every band I hear, every film I see is a winner (start with David Michôd's devastating Animal Kingdom). Something is in the water, and I hope it sticks around. Incidentally, if you go strolling through YouTube looking for Total Control videos, you'll notice more entries for the Motels' 1979 ballad "Total Control." Accept no substitutes! For more: Doug Mosurock ("Still Single") loses his shit over Henge Beathere.