Revelations: The Black EP
Release date: February 17, 2017
William Control has been a busy boy lately. The first of four EPs in his Revelations series, a quartet of short releases that together will comprise his fifth studio album was released in October. The Pale was full of the dark synthpop Control has become known for, channeling some of the most exciting, moody music of the 1980s into contemporary broodings. The result was a fantastic set of songs that was far too short. Thankfully, The Black extends upon this collection, adding a further four songs to the Revelations cycle.
In many ways The Black is exactly what one would expect from William Control. “Analog Flesh In a Digital World” is a perfect opening track, quickly building from dark piano introspection to a pulsing dance beat baptized in synthesizers. The lyrics speak both longingly and disdainfully of true contact in a world of primarily digital connections, capturing the increasing neurosis of the internet age. “All I Need” follows, it’s main riff bringing to mind New Order’s classic “True Faith.” “Knife Play” is both laid back and visceral. Its mid-tempo groove would be soothing, if not for the underlying thread of menace that runs through the track. In the case of these three songs Control’s kinetic songwriting and his ability to craft a supremely catchy hook hold the listener in thrall.
The collection closes with a piano ballad, “Velvet Rose.” When I think of William Control it’s the constant energy that flows through his songs that comes to mind. There is an edgy quality to his songs that makes them so irresistible. On this track Control employs a stripped down arrangement that serves as a perfect vehicle for his rich voice to create an emotion. Superbly crafted harmonies grace the chorus, and as opposed to the darkness and energy of the other songs on The Black, “Velvet Rose” is beautiful in its simplicity and sentiment.
William Control has defined a sound based on classic elements, and perfected it over the course of his albums. The Black is another excellent set of songs that welcome the listener to join Control in a bleak world that is part romantic fantasy and part misanthropic reality. In many ways he is the voice of digital outcasts in the way that punk rock was a scream of dissent in its infancy. As with The Pale, I am left wanting more, and impatient for the next release in the Revelations series.
Reviewed by Jim1340