In 2005, it seemed the most hype gathered around bands from one of two camps: either they were from Canada or they were among new wave’s second coming. Many of the Canuck bands lived up to their accolades, but the whole new wave thing lost steam as the labels tried to capitalize on the trend. But Controller.Controller is Canadian and it makes danceable music. That the band retains its own identity is a testament to its debut X-Amounts, originally released in October.
Here’s how: A lot of bands’ guitarists last year tried to emulate Gang of Four’s Andy Gill, Controller.Controller has its own secret weapon – two, actually: Colwyn Llewellyn-Thomas and Scott Kaija. Their style and chemistry together is innovative and at times abrasively kaleidoscopic. Bassist Ronnie Morris’s wobbly surfer rhythm is at the pulse of “PF“, and the same wicked guitar shredding abounds on “Poison/Safe” under singer Nirmala Basnayake’s sexual but tough voice.
X-Amounts is also distinct due to the progression used in the rhythm and in the high ends. The band even dabbles in some Krautrock musings that go from bubbly (“Blk Glv”) to ambient (“The Raw No“). The term “disco-punk” may be thrown around a lot, but Toronto’s Controller.Controller does stay true to the genre. It’s almost as if this album is yelling, “Dance, you fuckers, dance!”