Control Top - Covert Contracts (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Control Top

Covert Contracts (2019)

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 While Control Top may be a relatively new band, their debut Covert Contracts is the ripper of an album you’ve been looking for.

Singer/bassist Ali Carter opens “Type A” with some heavily distorted bass and her full-fledged attack doesn’t let up for eleven songs. She’s pissed off, whether it’s the shitty atmosphere of a 9 to 5 (“Office Rage”) or abusive men (“Ego Deaf”). All of Covert Contracts is angry and rebellious, especially the robotic title track where Carter sings, “Everything looks like a commercial, it’s a brand to be controversial,” a line to represent 2019 if there ever was one.

The band deliver pretty straightforward punk rock adding little subgenre flairs here and there. Dance-punk bleeds into it most, especially “Chain Reaction.” The dance ready vibe is brought to you by drummer Alex Lichtenaur who controls the song, keeping it fun and alive. But just one song before (“Office Rage”) the drums were furious, rolling, and angry. Lichetenaur is a true powerhouse and each song is better for their drums. Guitarist/producer Al Creedon also shows his range, keeping his guitar screeching and relentless (“Unapologetic”) until he abruptly regains control. Still, it is Carter’s show. Her vocal presence is in your face, reminiscent of Priests’ early work (something Creedon had a hand in.) The Soviettes come to mind when Control Top eases up slightly and on “Chain Reaction,” Carter’s voice could be mistaken for an angry version of The Sounds’ Maja Ivarsson.

There’s nothing on Covert Contracts that’s supposed to leave you feeling a sense of ease. Control Top thrive with their threats of uprising, each member propelling Covert Contracts forward without taking a breath. With most songs under the three-minute mark, there’s no time for hidden agenda.