Mind Controls - Mind Controls (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mind Controls

Mind Controls (2006)


Fortune would have it that the Mind Controls' song "Death Cult Shoot-Out" was followed in a recent shuffle by the Skatalites' "Guns of Navarone." The classic ska song was recorded in 1964 while the punk tune was tracked just this past September in Montreal. "Navarone" is tinny, low-fidelity, quite washed out at times and clearly a product of its time and place in a fledgling music industry. The 42-year-old track also sounds a few notches cleaner than anything on Mind Controls' new full-length.

If you're experiencing a bit of déjà vu, this is the second notable Montreal lo-fi punk act to debut in as many months. Like Alive Records' Milky Ways, Mind Controls pull in plenty of late `70s influences to create a record that's stylistically and audibly retro. The band's fronted by one Mark Sultan, who moonlights as Bomp-affiliated one-man band BBQ. Bassist Ysael Pepin plays in Demon's Claws while drummer Brian, more formally The Duke, hails from the Confusers. The Montreal garage punk scene seems like a tangled mess of "current and ex-member" credits and Mind Controls are no exception. Did I mention Sultan's played with the Spaceshits and Les Sexareenos? How about the fact that members of both those bands, plus the sister of BBQ's partner in crime King Khan make up the 3/4ths of the Milky Ways? You get the picture.

Running with that comparison, Mind Controls are a much more direct band than the Milky Ways. The distorted garage punk sound is unmistakable but there's little psychedelia here. For all the noise he makes, Sultan's really just a student of classic pop songwriting and keeps things short and to the point. Despite the fact that the album opening "Take a Message" was a BBQ song in an earlier life, Mind Controls shy away from the outright R&B / rockabilly sound of Sultan's solo work. Vocally, there's a bit of the New Bomb Turks' rapid delivery with a quirky touch of the Briefs. Mind Controls share a lot of qualities with early Marked Men or even the Million Dollar Marxists, albeit a few intentional notches rougher.

Mind Controls is a fine debut, providing twenty minutes of the most genuine rock'n'roll you'll hear this summer. It's one of those great unimportant punk records that makes no assumptions and doesn't dare take a song over the three-minute mark. That's all I ask for.