Paper The Operator

Solemn Boyz EP

Written by: PP on 09/08/2009 20:53:47

Paper The Operator is the side project of John Sebastian, who normally plays in The Color Wheels (review soon). Don't worry if you haven't heard of his main band, because neither had I before their record landed in my review box. Plus after having listened to both for quite some time now, I'm inclined to say that Paper The Operator > The Color Wheels anyway. So what do these guys sound like? "Solemn Boyz EP" is a classic case of emo pop punk clearly inspired by late 90s Jimmy Eat World and The Stereo, featuring a perfect balance of pop and punk, effectively placing the band right in between the glossy, perfectly produced new wave pop punk bands like Hit The Lights / Fall Out Boy and the rawer 90s tinged acts like New Found Glory. Not that Paper The Operator sound anything at all like either of those bands, because their approach has much more of an alternative rock edge to it (think Armor For Sleep), but just to give you an idea of where they roughly stand on the pop punk genre spectrum.

Essentially, the songs found on "Solemn Boyz EP" are down to earth pop punk which doesn't want to overrun the listener with irresistable catchiness rather than to smoothly charm one into liking (perhaps loving?) it instead. These guys have mastered the art of writing catchy songs, but they never strike as the type of songs that are catchy for the first handful of times before becoming repetitive. Much of this is owed to the great vocal harmonies of Mr. Sebastian, whose lines follow the guitar melodies perfectly so that it feels like they are both in harmony. Throw in some quirky lyrical lines on top, like "When the water weighs much more than the swimmers on the shore" from "Divorce Court" or "I read you like a book that took all semester" from "The Heart's Hardest Part", and you won't be blamed for saying that Paper The Operator are somewhat more intellectually challenging than most of their counterparts.

"Salty & Sweet" has a vocal harmony that sounds almost exactly like a famous boy band pop song from the 90s. Just which one, I'm not sure as it's not my area of expertise, but I could swear it's borrowed from one of those Weststreetlifezone Boys tracks. Lyrically, of course, the line is brilliant ("like when whores become angels, like when pastors go to hell"), and it fit's the song perfectly anyway, so I'm not complaining as such. To be frank, there isn't much to criticize on the record either, as all of the songs (aside from maybe "Words You Never Learned") stroll along smoothly, making a lasting effect on the listener. That this band has me singing along to a few of those lines I mentioned earlier even on my time off from listening to them says that they're doing something right. All late 90s emo fans, sign up for this record.


Download: Solemn Boyz, Salty & Sweet
For the fans of: Jimmy Eat World, The Stereo
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.04.2008
Viper Bite Records

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