Paper The Operator, Goodbye God

Paper The Operator, Goodbye God

Jon Sebastian’s band Paper The Operator gives insight into the mind of a man with an indie-rock agenda and a fun-loving heart. There is some slight vibrato in his soft soothing voice, sounding a bit like Rivers Cuomo circa “Only in Dreams” or “Butterfly.” Minimalistic music plays in the background, heavily reliant on distorted guitar parts and drum machines with the rare keyboard interlude. The songs are short, sweet, and to the point. Some are merely over one minute long, but you can feel the passion in his voice as he yearns. I’d categorize it as nerd-rock — the song “Chemistry Set” alone earns him that title. The songs may be simple, but he knows what he’s going for, with directed lyrics and memorable tunes.

Track two, “I Get Around,” is a catchy number, reminiscent of Ozma, with a cute keyboard part and playful irony as Sebastian sings, “We sit by the fire / though we couldn’t get any hotter.” On the opposite side of the spectrum, track four, “The Pendulum,” stands out the most with its ominous sound, like death on its way in an Edgar Allen Poe piece. It hardly has any lyrics, since the emphasis lies on the music and the idea of “the grass is greener on the other side,” but the line, “And when your time does come / you won’t know where it’s coming from,” hits the listener hard.

“Laundrolux,” the eighth track, is a catchy number about a girl in a laundromat with rather colorful clothing. Vibrant colors are actually a common theme throughout the entirety of this album, which strikes me as odd, since the album cover is mainly gray and bleak-looking, giving the impression of a far more serious collection of music within. Finally, track twelve, “Buddy Baby 2” (homage to Weezer?), is the shortest of all but provides a good burst of energy. It’s another song of hopeful love despite the odds, ending Goodbye God on a happy note.

The record itself is less than thirty minutes long, which holds it back in my opinion (and makes me wonder if he really was shooting for the short genius of the Blue Album). Goodbye God comes off as something a person recorded in their basement in a day, and Sebastian seems capable of much more, considering he wrote twelve songs for this effort.

What adds to the quickness of this CD is that the words tend to rhyme and be on the cutesy side, with the ever-so-often play on words. It’s familiar territory, for sure, but at times Sebastian surprises you with his clever quips like, “Can I get the number / Can I get you to help me numb her?” I’d recommend it to anyone in the mood for a quick pick-me-up.

(Viper Bite Records -- P.O. Box 17931, Rochester, NY. 14617; http://www.viperbiterecords.com/; Paper The Operator -- http://www.papertheoperator.com/)
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Review by . Review posted Thursday, July 8th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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