William Control – Sex Cult

Against all odds: William Control is back!

William Control - Sex Cult

Album facts

Release Date: April 14th, 2023
Label: Control Records
Tags: , ,
Discogs: Not yet available
Partially sounds like: Depeche Mode, Modern Talking, Rick Astley, Ashbury Heights, Priest
Final score: 4.1 stars
Matching album cliches: 3 / 7

It has been almost half a dec­ade since the release of 'Revelations', a full-length album by 'William Control' that con­sisted of four pre­vi­ously-released EPs. Nearly a year ago, the artist unveiled 'Sex Cult Volume 1' EP, after which there was a pro­longed peri­od of silence from the artist. Therefore, it is with great delight that I am now able to appraise the latest album, 'Sex Cult', which arrives without any inter­ven­ing EPs.

The album title 'Sex Cult' is likely to stir up con­tro­versy and spark debate in vari­ous circles. While songs that explore themes of sex, BDSM, and oth­er fet­ishes are not uncom­mon in our music scene, I believe that in coun­tries like the artist's home coun­try, the United States, such con­tent still can be asso­ci­ated with a cer­tain degree of risk. However, delving into this top­ic would be bey­ond the scope of this review and not entirely appropriate.

Despite any poten­tial con­tro­versy, I am pleased that 'William Control' has not aban­doned music, as was pre­vi­ously announced, and has instead returned with a truly out­stand­ing album that is sure to make an impact. 'Sex Cult' is an excep­tion­al record that show­cases the artist's skill and cre­ativ­ity, and I am excited to dis­cuss it in fur­ther detail.

How a cult album begins

The intro­duc­tion of the song fea­tures a divine vocal sample remin­is­cent of Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy The Silence' in the ini­tial seconds, yet it is appar­ent from the out­set that 'Hell' builds up more son­ic pres­sure. As the open­ing track of the album 'Sex Cult', 'Hell' is a power­ful and catchy num­ber, exclaim­ing the artist's return with fer­vor. I typ­ic­ally like to indic­ate which songs are suit­able for a single in my reviews. However, with this album, it is chal­len­ging to do so, as it would be easi­er to men­tion which two tracks are less suit­able for that purpose.

William Control (Press photo in new studio 2023)
William Control (Press photo in new stu­dio 2023)

The title track, 'Sex Cult', is slightly more chilling than the open­er. Despite its pro­voc­at­ive name, the con­tent is not as pro­voc­at­ive. While the song is about the world's most beau­ti­ful activ­ity, it is presen­ted in a pas­sion­ate con­text. The synth sound is expertly chosen and does not over­power the lyr­ics. The expli­cit love­mak­ing sounds at the con­clu­sion are appro­pri­ate and blen­ded in with a mod­er­ate volume level.

The album's single, 'Baptized', fol­lows as anoth­er standout track, accom­pan­ied by a fant­ast­ic music video released almost pre­cisely one year ago. Without a lengthy intro­duc­tion, William Control launches right into the mem­or­able and infec­tious melody, begin­ning the song by the tenth second. All the tracks on the 'Sex Cult' album are pleas­ingly con­cise and sharp, with each one suit­able for a single edit.

Following classic roots and paths

The song 'Brand' sounds much more mel­an­chol­ic at the begin­ning than its first song com­pan­ions. The song itself is not that mel­an­chol­ic, but very emo­tion­al, although with a very clas­sic rela­tion­ship image. At just 100bpm, the song makes its way into the ear with a lot of atten­tion to detail. The bal­ance between the verses and chor­us is expertly executed and cre­ates a sat­is­fy­ing listen­ing exper­i­ence. At a dur­a­tion of 03:21 minutes, the song is both cap­tiv­at­ing and repeat-worthy.

She gave her whole life up and she fol­lowed him
Out of the dark­ness out of the waste­land of sin
Lyrics from 'Brand' by William Control

The intro­duc­tion of 'Abuse' can already be con­sidered a sig­na­ture 'William Control' intro, with his char­ac­ter­ist­ic vocal style fea­tured in some of his pre­vi­ous works. Comparing it to his widely pop­u­lar hit 'The Monster' seems appro­pri­ate. The music video released in November 2020 with the announce­ment of "Here we begin a new adven­ture.…" had already sparked hopes for a comeback. Despite feel­ing like a long time has passed, the song itself is both light and har­mo­ni­ous, embody­ing the essence of excel­lent synth pop music. While not over­power­ing the listen­er with its sound, the song is suf­fi­ciently intric­ate in struc­ture to avoid becom­ing tedi­ous. William Control has mastered the art of this genre to perfection.

To me, the song 'Wife' falls under the cat­egory of tracks that are not meant to be released as singles and are not par­tic­u­larly note­worthy, earn­ing a mod­est 3‑star rating.

New sex cult members

The ini­tial six songs were released in the pre­cise sequence on the 2022 EP titled 'Sex Cult Volume 1'. The next six songs are new and com­plete the album 'Sex Cult'.

The song 'Allegations' is a clas­sic upbeat synth pop anthem with depth. I love the lyr­ic­al ref­er­ences: "I'm a gambling man, a beau­ti­ful loser, a stranger I have been", to the cult debut album 'Hate Culture' (2008). The song goes from the ear straight to the dance legs and brings that dark mel­an­chol­ic joy we know. The chor­us is super catchy and can be sung along after the second repe­ti­tion. An abso­lutely fant­ast­ic song!

The song 'Accusation' begins with an almost naïve melody and a super poppy beat. The ini­tial sung phrases instantly evoke a sense of nos­tal­gia for clas­sic tunes such as Rick Astley's 'Together Forever'. Despite its light and breezy sound, the track is any­thing but cheesy, a del­ic­ate bal­ance that only a few artists and groups can achieve. 'Pet Shop Boys' are anoth­er example of artists who can com­pose ser­i­ous songs and infuse them with catchy, poppy melodies.

A love like this will always last,
She knows I am a sin­ner and I have a past,
She is a Bad Bitch yeah I am a catch
Lyrics from 'Accusation' by William Control

'Controversy' takes a slightly dark­er turn in terms of tone com­pared to some of the oth­er tracks on the album. While the over­all vibe of the album may con­jure up nos­tal­gic feel­ings of an upbeat 80s sound, this par­tic­u­lar track offers a dif­fer­ent exper­i­ence. 'Controversy' focuses on an enter­tain­ing explor­a­tion of themes such as pas­sion, devo­tion, and love, in a straight­for­ward man­ner. The song's relat­able nature and catchy tune make it a per­fect addi­tion to any "Best of Love" synth pop playlist.

Much more than provocative

I would almost call the song 'Haunted' one of the more soci­ety-crit­ic­al songs on the album 'Sex Cult'. Yes, maybe even dysto­pi­an. Accordingly, the atmo­sphere and the vibe of the song is more oppress­ive to mel­an­chol­ic. Lyrically, the song has a lot of depth. In a world where many things can already be arti­fi­cially cre­ated (Think of robots by Boston Dynamics, ChatGPT by OpenAI and so on) and AI chats and apps for singles that pre­tend to have interest and feel­ings for you, the ques­tion arises (or not) wheth­er we will one day be able to rep­lic­ate the feel­ing of 'love'. The song 'Haunted' is def­in­itely thought-pro­vok­ing and them­at­ic­ally fits per­fectly into the album.

The track 'Tumblr' exudes an aura of buoy­ancy, in stark con­trast to the somber­ness of the pre­ced­ing song. It boasts a lively pop tune remin­is­cent of the 80s, which is sure to lift your spir­its. The song is one of the standout tracks on the album 'Sex Cult' and kicks off with a some­what cheesy, yet charm­ing nod to 'Modern Talking' in my opin­ion. William Control's vocals are impec­cable, res­on­at­ing crys­tal clear, as if they were tail­or-made for this genre of music. Though the com­pos­i­tion is not intric­ate, it is extremely pleas­ing and inspires an urge to dance.

You can smash my soul like a roman soldier
Split my rose in two
You can viol­ate my heart no composure
And oh I still love you oh forever
Lyrics from 'Tumblr' by William Control 

In the final track of the album, 'William Control' offers a cov­er of the time­less clas­sic 'My Way' ori­gin­ally by 'Frank Sinatra' (ori­gin­ally writ­ten as "Comme d'habitude" by 'Claude François'). Although the cov­er may not be to everyone's taste, it is skill­fully executed and com­ple­ments the artist's style. Within the con­text of the album, this rendi­tion adds a level of emo­tion­al depth and serves as a fit­ting conclusion.

A cult, sexy album!

The album 'Sex Cult' is a superb addi­tion to 'William Control's' dis­co­graphy, and it main­tains the high-qual­ity stand­ards set by the artist's pre­vi­ous releases such as 'Revelations' and 'The Neuromancer'. For me it's already a must-buy and for the fans it's cer­tainly without ques­tion. Overall, I find the album a bit catch­i­er than the pre­vi­ous ones, although that's hard to ima­gine as the pre­vi­ous album and single releases are the essence of catchy synth pop songs with a touch of darkness.

It is clear that 'William Control' has put a lot of effort into the pro­duc­tion of this album, as the songs are well-craf­ted and show­case the artist's ver­sat­il­ity and musi­cian­ship. The album offers a range of moods and themes, from catchy and upbeat tracks to more con­tem­plat­ive and thought-pro­vok­ing songs. 'Sex Cult' is an excep­tion­al album that stands out in the genre and is highly recommended.

Track by track rating for: William Control – Sex Cult

William Control - Sex Cult
William Control – Sex Cult
Hell
Sex Cult
Baptized
Brand
Abuse
Wife
Allegations
Accusation
Controversy
Haunted
Tumblr
My Way
Recommend
Hell
Baptized
Controversy
Tumblr
Weak
(Nothing to report here)
4.1

Typical album cliché list for: William Control – Sex Cult

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Hell
Sex Cult
Baptized
Brand
Abuse
Wife
Allegations
Accusation
Controversy
Haunted
Tumblr
My Way
Final Score