Album Cover
Paper Bag
February 24, 2004


It's common knowledge that, deep down inside, dance-punk wishes it was still the 1980's, and Controller.Controller, Canuck newcomers to the genre, are no exception: After the amusing Rockwell allusion in "Silent Seven," the dark, Joy Division recollection "Disco Blackout," singer Nirmala Basnayake's frequently Byrne-like vocals, and the overall oblique debt to Gang of Four, that much is clear. However, History, their debut EP, calls to mind those various, obvious choices (besides Rockwell), but manages to make up for their tardiness to the dance-punk game by beating a few of the established others at their own game.

History opens with the minute-long, curious electronic mess "..." before segueing into the title track, "History." It starts with a reliable beat, provided by drummer Jeff Scheven, coated by a danceable bassline and duelling guitars, and then Nirmala goes David Byrne all over it. Much like the rest of the album, proclamations, ravings and commands provide an air of meaning and urgency to each song, while each song gradually evolves into something perhaps more grand and impressive. "History" swells and swells, exhaling for a moment only to start up again with laser show electronics.

Like many dance-punk releases, History occasionally is in danger of being homogenous, but the tense, urgent, epic "Disco Blackout" and the aggressive, rough "Bruised Broken Beaten" keeps things from getting too suffocating. The electronic mess of "..." comes back to segue "Disco Blackout" into the Rapture-like "Watch," also keeping things varied enough to hold the listener's attention.

For a half-hour EP, History is remarkably listenable, in spite of having no clear agenda or progression, but this is an EP. Hopefully, when an LP surfaces, Controller.Controller won't succumb to the great dance-punk tradition of having killer singles and EP's but no more for the full length. I'm crossing my fingers.

Delan Hamasoor

Track List

  1. ...
  2. History
  3. Silent Seven
  4. Sleep Over It
  5. Bruised Broken Beaten
  6. Disco Blackout
  7. Watch