Goose ‘Control, Control, Control’ (Safari)

Head-nodders and foot-stompers all the way

This new offering from electro-indie rockers Goose seems to doff a reverential cap to Joy Division, although the Belgians still have some way to go to match the Mancunians’ biting nihilism or amateurish, punky energy. At their most portentous, Goose stray more worryingly toward the transatlantic techno-rock of A Flock Of Seagulls.

In the main, however, Goose do mine the same spiky new wave vein plundered by everyone from the Gang Of Four to Franz Ferdinand. They also share that strangely Belgian phenomenon of always sounding… Belgian. There’s probably no rational way to describe it, but listen closely and you’ll hear the faint echoes of the likes of Plastic Bertrand and Neon Judgment.

The track ‘Control’ is arguably the best thing here, built around a pulsing bass riff, clickety-clack percussion and a repetitive, clipped guitar line. ‘Lucifer’, likewise, is a proper head-nodding goth stomp. When you sense they aren’t trying so hard to be intense, such as on the anthemic ‘Come On Strong’, things improve a great deal. The electro-polka of ‘Modern 

Times’ lands, unbelievably, somewhere between Ultravox, The Cure and Muse.

Intended to capture the live sound of the band, ‘Control, Control, Control’ succeeds in making Goose sound like a real four-piece churning away in real time, even if the electronic elements are subsequently less conspicuous than on the group’s previous release, ‘Synrise’. You can almost hear somebody hitting the play button on the sequencer at the launch of each track: the electronics themselves being largely confined to Giorgio Moroder-esque arpeggios and crashing syndrums.

I may be making ‘Control, Control, Control’ sound a lot less enjoyable than it is, because to their credit Goose marry energy and melody without sacrificing either. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly new here, but it’s still a bold and successful attempt to translate their live energy to record. If you enjoy the dark electro-goth of Ashbury Heights or Mari Chrome, you’ll find plenty to like here.

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