Well colour me surprised as fuck. A broody musician called William Control was brought to my attention recently, by a friend. The best way to describe Control’s sound would be to call it something dark and ominous lurking just out of sight in the shadows, waiting to pounce on pretty young things on their merry way home-like the creature in the horror movie with pain in its eyes. Were The Editors, Joy Division and Depeche Mode to miraculously have a lovechild of the musical sort (this may sound like the chalkboard nails of sacrilege to some of you, but untwist your panties and LISTEN), William Control would be it. Now I’m a sucker for that almost industrial electronic sound-a la Sisters of Mercy- so I was pretty much hooked straight off the bat: I mean if you can successfully cover a Joy Division song, you simply must be God or pretty damn close.
Like a smack head, desperate for any way to get my next fix of this previously unexplored and uncommonly worthwhile drug I turned over a few rocks to see what was there. What I came upon, however, was like a new tattoo: painful as fuck, but satisfying beyond compare. William Control is in fact one Wil Francis; lead vocalist of Seattle “rock” band Aiden. I can’t cope with Aiden, I just can’t do it. I never even REALLY tried; they never made me want to. At best, I pegged Wil Francis for a painfully mediocre My Chemical Romance wannabe: at worst a hack riding the already broken and diminished wave of black and red wearing 17 year olds. Hearing that the vocalist of a band that I so vehemently dislike is the same one that I’ve just fallen head over platform stripper heels for is somewhat of a shock to my system-kind of like putting on your boot and realizing there’s something in it that just shouldn’t be there-that sudden wave of overwhelming ickyness.
I am NOT someone who likes to admit that they may have jumped the proverbial gun…ever. I stand by what I say, because I generally mean it (unless you catch me after one too many Long Island Iced Teas…then I am seldom able to string a coherent sentence together let alone formulate an opinion.). In this case, I was wrong. I judged the baby by its cover, tossed the book out with the bathwater and spoke before all my chickens had hatched. William Control has graced the Underworld: Rise of the Lycans OST (with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba) this year’s Underworld: Awakening OST and The Used’s new album Vulnerable. Understated and not cranked out by the music machine, Control is everything that Aiden is not. He’s managed to keep verses minimal and empty; like the barrel of a shotgun and just as solid. He’s and crafted choruses into intense and frantic hurricanes, focusing themes and points so sharply that you don’t even realise how tense you are till the music stops. Control should be weary of repeating the past; we already have one Dave Gahan. Obviously no one’s perfect, and here or there there’s an effect or a vocal that makes me shake my head , sigh inwardly and think “Shame innit” with a British accent (for no apparent reason)…but then I think that about myself on a near constant basis. The fact that I had no idea that it was possible for an artist to be that versatile was, in itself, enough to make me get my head out of my ass and prepare to admit my fallibility. An admission well admitted, and a lesson well learned.
Control’s new album, Silentium Amoris, was released on April 2nd.