A deliberately frothy take on an under-documented moment in US politics
Download the Operator Please widget now to hear the debut album 'Yes Yes Vindictive' - out March 17.
Grounded in your room reading NME as your friends let off fireworks in the park? Sent to bed before your first glimpse of nubile Skins flesh? Don’t worry: Operator Please know exactly how you feel. They’ve criss-crossed the world from their home in Queensland, Australia, opened for Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs – and still, the first thing anyone says about ’em is they’re young. Like, super-young. Adorable, teeny-tiny critter kids, like Cabbage Patch Kids dressed for the indie disco. It’s enough… to make you… SNAP!
“WHO! ARE! YOU?!” barks Amandah Wilkinson as ‘Yes Yes’ cuts along with a murderous lope, like The Cramps covered with silly string. Yeah, now, now she’s getting her own back: “Just outta curiosity” she spits, “Could you tell me how old you think I should be?” Instead of wise-cracking back, you just… kinda… gulp. Phew. This isn’t to say that the Operator Please we hear on ‘Yes Yes Vindictive’ is all grown up. No, these are still songs to sing while jumping off bouncy castles into huge ball pits, songs that think nothing of nailing big splurgy synthesizers to grandiose violin serenades or shouting things like “dirty laundry!” in the middle of a song like a schoolgirl flashing her knickers (‘Zero Zero’). However, there’s no doubting that the likes of ‘Get What You Want’ – think Gwen Stefani if she grew up fronting a post-punk band rather than a ska band – and the snotty thumbed-nose hardcore of ‘Just A Song About Ping Pong’ have a keen grasp of dancefloor tensions and whoop-ass dynamics. Even when you can feel they’re making obvious thefts – see ‘Terminal Disease’, which couldn’t be more Yeah Yeah Yeahs if the whole band got caught playing Karen O dress-up – you still feel there’s nothing arch or cynical about these cuts and swipes. In short, you can tell Operator Please picked up their moves at the dance party, not the record store.
As with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, though, you feel if Operator Please are here for the long haul, they need to soften, just for a minute, and these kids – well, they can’t quite pull it off. The piano-accompanied ‘Two For My Seconds’ is an Aussie Kate Nash that’s done no favours by Amandah’s uncharacteristically nasal vocals. ‘Other Song’ twitters like a twee Avril Lavigne. It’s only the closing ‘Pantomime’ that gives Amandah’s melancholy side space to breathe, a slow-burning lament to social awkwardness that weeps, sobs, and finally just breezes out, unfulfilled. It’s the record’s one moment of real emotional resonance, and once it’s come and gone you long for more of it. Maybe ‘Yes Yes Vindictive’ was the album Operator Please had to make. Give ’em a year or two and they’ll surely make better.
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