After a Sub Pop single, a split with Thee Oh Sees and some well worked up anticipation, Total Control follow up Henge Beat with an album that's twice as strong and hits even harder. They still take their tastes all over the map of influences but this time they seem to find a natural flow from the hard gnashing peaks of post-punk grit to the gloss of synth pop and a few dosed-out wanders through the valley of Benzedrine pop. Typical System turns corners not so much at a whip snap but rather at a cautious creep, peering around a well thought out maze of knuckle tough back alleys throughout its course. The band's always been a veritable who's who of Aussie talent but they all seem to have gelled a vision of bile soaked, black neon coated restraint. The album proves that the ideas just bubbling through on their previous album, and beginning to distill by the time they hit that split with Oh Sees, have now taken root and grown hold in vines that seek to strangle behind the beauty. And there is plenty of beauty here, tinged with darkness yes, but the shimmer in "Flesh War" and "Safety Net" is definitely more refined than I'd ever expected of the band. This vaults itself into the essential corners of 2014 for sure.
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