My only previous encounter with Total Control comes from an EP split with Thee Oh Sees. A track titled “Nervous Harvest” was by far the greatest thing on there, and to my surprise, it didn’t come from Thee Oh Sees. During a brief research I found that Total Control is often referred to as a “supergroup” since its members are involved in various Australian punk bands you might or might not have heard of. If names like Eddy Current Supression Ring, The Collapse, UV Race, Straightjacket Nation and Dick River means something to you, then you’re hell of a lot more informed than me, or might just be an Aussie punk freak. Whether you care about these bands or not, it’s enough to know that – under the Total Control moniker – they create mind-blowing music.
On “Flesh War”, the first single from their sophomore album Typical System, the band formerly linked to Swell Maps, Suicide and Wire on their 2011 Henge Beat, adds another new flavor to their restless style-hopping. While on the surface the same strains of DNA apply, as soon as the chorus makes its grand entrance, “Flesh War” mutates into a gracefully romantic song; that has more in common with Echo and the Bunnymen than Joy Division. Melody wise, this is a real 180 from a band that continue to successfully avoid any easy labeling. Typical System is out June 24 via Iron Lung Records.