Album #298: Control Top – Covert Contracts

  • Released: 2019
  • Origin: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Label: Get Better
  • Best Track: Straight Jackets

It’s getting to the time of year where I start thinking about my best albums of 2020, and the annoying thing about this is the thought that I might well not even have heard my favourite album of this year yet. It might be 2023 or 2024 before I do!

Pretty early on in this blog, I listed some of my favourite albums from 2019. If I did this again now, there would probably be three or four albums I’ve discovered since added to it.

That includes this debut from Philadelphia post-punk band Control Top, which I was alerted to this weekend. This is wonderful – loud, snotty, abrasive and destructive. Like a bull in a china shop, as referenced on ‘Unapologetic’.

Frontwoman Ali Carter seems to sing with a permanent menacing scowl on her face and it comes across in her voice that hovers between a gravelly roar and a high-pitched yelp. The theme of the album is very much frustration and repression, whether it’s at work (‘Office Rage’) or in general society (the superb ‘Straight Jackets’). Meanwhile, ‘Prism’, while poppy, has a powerful, blunt and serious message about self-identity.

Produced by band member Al Creedon, who brings a real noise-rock edge to proceedings, Covert Contracts is an album not to be ignored.

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