Typical System

Total Control play rock ’n’ roll. That’s about all you can say because the Australian five-piece bounces all over the place, dodging descriptors, making a racket and lurking in the darkness. The band’s latest, Typical System, follows up its excellent 2011 debut, Henge Beat, an album that was sleek and sneering. There’s plenty more this time around. Perhaps the most jolting one-two punch comes from opener “Glass,” a synth-heavy new-waver that sounds like it was pulled from MTV’s 1981 archive. That’s followed by the agitated punk of “Expensive Dog,” which cuts loose with wiry guitars and Dan Stewart’s foreboding vocals. Songs like “Systematic Fuck” and “2 Less Jacks” continue the jittery post-punk noise, before the record settles into a couple of bubbly, synth numbers “The Ferryman” and “Hunter.” Total Control don’t go out with a bang on closer “Safety Net,” but by then they’ve already proven their point. They do whatever the hell they want, and they do it well. One of the best rock releases you’ll hear in 2014.