Review: William Control – The Pale EP

Everything about William Control confounds expectations from the way they approach touring, to the music, to the image and to the way they are releasing this; technically the start of their 4th album; via separate EP’s. I actually came across William Control, the wrong way round. I recently reviewed the excellent Pretty Addicted Album Holding Hands With The Shadow Man and the ensuing tour was in support of William Control. What I like about this partnership is that on paper Pretty Addicted may not have been who you expected to support, being a lot darker, twisted and heavier than William Control but again maybe its William Controls roots as a breakout group from Gothic punk rockers Aiden but they seem to want to push their boundaries and your expectations.

Opening track and lead single is the catchy “Monster”, what strikes you almost instantly is that this is such a well-produced track and EP. Sound wise this is the 80’s but they have it down so perfectly, it’s almost uncanny. The sounds are big, brash and just so 80’s and I for one love this. I love the fact that a band like William Control are out there doing something different, experimenting with different sounds, looking at other periods of time and taking those influences. “Monster” itself only has one bug bear for me and that is that it reminds too much in the chorus of The Automatics’ song of the same name. It is pretty much Spandau Ballet covering the Automatic. Still good though

Second track “Confess” is pure genius though. I love everything about this track. It’s a lot slower than the opener but draws you into their world in an instant, you will want to confess. How they have managed to sound equally like New Order, Depeche Mode and William Control in all the same moment is what makes this record. You could imagine this on an old 12 inch mix version, it would have been a huge hit. Classic, as soon as it stops, you would be putting the needle back to the beginning of the record again

“When The Love is Pain”, straddles both of the opening tracks. It has the emptiness and electronic of New Order but we have a brighter and very addictive chorus. If this record and this track is marketed right it could be a huge hit. It such a fresh take on what was an old and successful genre that I could really see it appealing to many people. This is almost Radio 2 territory.

The EP is complete with the Depeche modish “Mother Superior”, yet another great song. Again, it is the use of the synths sounds, the guitars and pace of the record that is so great. At times the lyrics and sound on the vocals reminds me of The Pet Shop Boys. This is a slightly darker track and finishes the EP well. A lot more gothic and later Depeche Mode

This is Part 1 of the new album, we have 3 more EPS (Black, Red and White) to follow and based on this one I am really looking forward to what they produce. This is such a perfectly formed EP and works very well standing alone. I am actually kinda excited to see, will they continue this theme, will it flow or will they completely sidewipe us and confound our expectations. We will just have to wait until the next instalment of the William Control story (coming soon).

The Pale EP is out on October 14th

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