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Total Control at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, Sunday, October 30th, 2011 Reviewed

Sure, I don’t necessarily think punk rock when I see synthetizers, but there was definitively a revival of the genre when the Australian guys of Total Control took the stage of the Ukrainian Cultural Center, during the pre-Halloween show organized by the FTF fest on Sunday. The five-piece band was especially noticeable by frontman Daniel Stewart’s raw energy and intense delivery, as he was grasping the mic all muscles contracted, almost out of breath while spitting and screaming his long tirades like an angry animal.

The synth was making its apparition only on certain occasions, but the songs were oscillating between krautrock iced-darkness, monotonous-toned-Joy-Division vocals and fast punk numbers, the band staying away from any kind of focus on a specific genre, punk, post-punk, new wave, the 70s, the 80s,… but keeping this mean-like attitude all along their set. I could even make some hardcore comparisons at times, as a few songs had a real mosh pit potential totally embraced by the crowd on Sunday night, but then they were back to the synth and I was confused again. Like with any revival of any sound, it’s funny to see that it is always possible to blur even more the already fuzzy limits between the genres.

The whole set was intensely chilly and moody, extremely varied, as songs could be short and straightforward in their punk delivery (‘Retiree’), or very long, starting like a paranoiac repetitive agony then blasting into a synth-distortion ('Meds II'). I even remember a much more upbeat melodic song toward the end, bringing some smart distraction in all this darkness

They have very recently released an album ‘Henge Beat’ on Iron Lung, and I have read that the different members are part of many other bands, but whatever, they seem to totally embody their moniker last Sunday night.


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