What a sexy fucking album. Dark, angular, moody, and frantic, The Operators runs the risk of being a ball of stress and anxiety. But somehow the overwhelming impression you come away with is having been seduced by robots in an opium den. This isn’t dance music (though you can shake your booty to a couple tracks), nor is it poppy (though some of the hooks will get stuck in your head). It’s trancey and dreamy without being trite and it’s complicated and daring without being intimidating. Definitely check it out.
The album kicks off with Paralyzed, cockeyed rhythms exploding under David Byrne yelps and a plea to ‘un-paralyze me’. If you experience ASMR, the twee yet jagged instrumentation here will set it off. On Its Way explores paranoia with lyrics about unnamed people (?) creeping out from behind doors over a circus-y toy pump organ riff. Wave is all textures and 70s organ riffs – the electric clarinet adds a vibe I’ve never heard before, kind of like the jug player from the 13th Floor Elevators.
Nosejob and Inside your Insides are my favorite songs on the record. Nosejob is so sultry and inviting, the fretless bass especially working to zone you out before the hectic vocal melody layers over the top and tries to warn you there’s danger here. Meanwhile Inside your Insides sounds like Tears for Fears filtered through A Scanner Darkly. Operators and Muse are perfect ways to end the album – funky and the most danceable songs on here, it’s nice to rock out for a bit.
The album cover for ‘The Operators’ is a voluptuous purple snake writhing on a disembodied glowing hand. I can’t think of a better description for their sound.
Cover Photo: Joshua Calleja