Total Control: Typical System 12"
Man, this was one follow-up I was really nervous about hearing. Even though I'd heard their early singles, Total Control's first LP still seemed to come totally out of nowhere... the whole post-punk revival was just starting to get off the ground and it seemed instantly to raise the bar several notches. But then the single on Sub Pop was good, but not really explosive, and in my opinion the songs on the split 12" with the Oh Sees didn't really stick out that much either. However, it's clear now that Total Control were saving themselves for this record, because it's really incredible. The environment in 2014 is very different... everyone and their brother seems to have a post-punk band, yet Total Control still feel miles ahead. The intro track is a total scorcher, a blistering blast of Depeche Mode-influenced electro pop that I think is easily the best track they've done (particularly in this style) since "Paranoid Video." Over the course of the LP the band moves so fluidly between so many styles... krautrock, new wave, garage-punk, and the big closer "Safety Net," which could almost be like U2 or something with its big, triumphant melody. I've probably listened to this 30+ times since it came out, and I don't see it getting old any time soon. A serious contender for best LP of 2014, and needless to say it gets our highest possible recommendation.