Typical System is an album that deals with themes and moments, which often are crystallizations of those themes. For instance, mortality and escape are themes. In “Flesh War,” Total Control creates a downright epiphany of a chorus. There is a continual reminder of restraint and release by way of vocal cues, an inclusion of a keyboard section, and something pretty close to an explanation of how to escape, even though it may not be an easy one. This moment of change between chorus and verse is an example of the crystallization that seems to continually pop up throughout the album. Lyrical and instrumental pairing is done tastefully and artfully, making for memorable songs, transitions, endings, and beginnings.
I have listened to this record a lot – a ghastly, obscene amount – and it has never done anything but continue to floor me. There’s this group of lines in the first song “Bloody Glass” that go “String up/The Cowards/String up/The Thieves/Drown their children/In the fountains/Write a book/To plague their memory.” The immediate takeaway from these lines is an undeniable ode to the visceral, the vicious, and the violent. But there’s a much more important distinction Total Control makes here, which is a group of humans – let’s call it “us” – against a nameless other institutionalized force represented by “cowards,” “thieves,” and “billionaires.” This other isn’t necessarily a “you,” but the unsettling thing is that the listener is required to look into his or herself just because it might be.
Give it a spin on the Iron Lung Records Bandcamp and then buy it. You're going to want it in your collection.