Operator Please - Yes Yes Vindictive

Lara O'Reilly 08/06/2008

Rating: 2.5/5

Operator Please: coming to a Skins episode near you. They've got it all- the looks, the age, the strings, the synths and enough angst to fill up a box set.

But hang on a moment, surely this is Be Your Own Pet in disguise? The first two tracks have the great riffs (See 'Zero Zero'), the pointless lyrics, the two minute pop-punk tunes and that has to be Jemina's voice. But apparently not, this very young-looking pop-rock quintet hail from Queensland, Australia and can only pull off the "rock" part for half of their album, the poor kids probably get tired.

Third Australian single, but yet to be released in the UK, 'Just a Song About Ping Pong' shows just how deceiving these little blighters can be. I'll let you into a secret, it's not about table tennis- THEY'RE ACTUALLY SINGING ABOUT SEX! IN A SONG! The song acts as a none-too-subtle metaphor: repetitive, fast and over in it's all over in two minutes. I've a good mind to tell their mothers, they still only look pre-pubescent.

It's quite a feat that vocalist, Amandah Wilkinson, can switch from sounding like Jemina from Be Your Own Pet to Britney in just one album. "You must think that I'm weird," she nasally croons in 'Two For My Seconds'. Not weird, Amandah. Insane. Especially to make a repeat performance in '6/8'.

Normal service is resumed with 'Terminal Disease', that sounds like their other obvious idols, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The blatant rip-off aside, it's a short, dark garage-rock ditty with 'Psycho'-esque strings, chesty vocals and some great bitty guitar work- a definite crowd-pleaser.

Wilkinson bitterly snarls her way through the title track. It will never be a hit, but only in the same way that BYOP an YYY's won't ever truly reach the mainstream. It's one of the better songs on the album even though, like the handful of good tracks, it could have been ripped straight from 'Get Awkward' or 'Fever to Tell'. Even with this in mind, the Australian press seem to love them and this Gold Coast band has got one hell of a fan base.

"Leave It Alone" is another stand-out track on the album. The chorus is far too catchy, making it great fodder for a radio hit. The tight drums even make the string section seem less oppressive. However, even on this track, the energy the band produce live seems to be compressed when recorded. The record has an overwhelming sense of being half-asleep.

You can't say Operator Please aren't trying (Except for the Britney songs, there's no sympathy there), there's a bit of everything in this album. They go from the punk dance floor fillers like "Ghost" and "Get What You Want" to acoustic. Stripped-down "Other Song" is a suitable name for this non-electric number, although I would have preferred "Shouldn't Have Been on the Album" or "B-Side to a B-Side" or "Only Kidding Folks, We Weren't Really Thinking of Recording This". The track's only use on the album is to exercise your finger by pressing the skip button.

The album closer has a fitting name; with their countless influences and sound-alikes, this album should be the equivalent of seeing a star-studded West End Show, only it's more like going to a Bognor Regis "Pantomime" (Title of track twelve and another sodding Britney number!) with Dean Gaffney (Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is!).

There's definitely some potential here. The ability of the musicians can't be faulted and there are at least four good tracks. Operator Please were discovered overwhelmingly fast after forming to win their school's battle of the bands competition and the LP almost hints they were forced to make the album in a hurry. The composition seems rushed and any essences of punk rock have been overproduced. What they lack is believability and urgency. At the moment, Operator Please just reek of bubblegum-flavoured teenage angst.