CD Review

Ctrl - "Secure the Shadow"

By Dan Century

Secure the ShadowIn the town where I do most of my socializing, New Brunswick, New Jersey, the only kind of live music to see is ROCK - boring, tired, punk or hard rock. Just about everyone in this town has a rock band and they all want you to come to their shows. "Support the scene, man." I'm not going to pay 5 bucks to see some trust fund punker take a musical dump on stage. It's no wonder why I opt to stay in and watch movies, play video games or just hang out on the couch drinking Buds. The scene sucks. Even Manhattan sucks - thanks in part to corporate storm trooper mayor Gulliani.

The point of my rant: it is refreshing to hear a new band that breaks away from the rock trap. Ctrl, straight out of the Pennsylvanian wastelands, arrives with a sound that definitely rocks, but more in the vein of Devo, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, and Pitchshifter. Electronics + intelligent lyrics + personality + a danceable beat. When was the last time you danced at a show? Not mosh, I mean actually shake something and dance?

Ctrl brings to mind many local and national post-Ministry post-industrial bands that cropped up around 1992 - Crocodile Shop, Transilvia, Sister Machine Gun and various bands on the Construction label. Thanks to bands like Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Numb and Skinny Puppy, hard dance music could have both a beat and a face to put up on stage. Ctrl follows in this tradition and it's a great time for it because there aren't many bands like them today.

Joel Willard's vocals are perfect for the sound of Ctrl. Willard doesn't add too many effects or too much distortion to his vocals - like many singers who end up sounding just like Nivek Ogre - and he doesn't affect his voice - like singers not from England with English accents (Jourgensen). I can safely compare Joel to Mark from Devo, Groovy Mann from Thrill Kill Kult, or Jean-Luc De Meyer of Front 242. Like those singers, Joel's lyrics are definitely worth listening to - part tortured soul, part Kafka, part Hellraiser film. Ctrl's best songs, Scold and Test Department, feature Josh's vocals prominently. You won't find a more unique vocal delivery in the Industrial scene.

Ctrl's music is less unique, fitting neatly in the Skinny Puppy / Blackouts / Numb / Leather Strip mold. Songs like Faqt could have dropped straight off Mind: the Perpetual Intercourse, but with Joel's unique vocal style. Ctrl does have a very raw, very live sound to them which sets them apart from everyone else. If you're a fan of electronic/Industrial bands with a strong personality and clever lyrics do check Ctrl out. I imagine they're pretty good live too.

Contact Information for Ctrl:
Mail: Thirteen Creekside Drive, Enola, PA 17025