Reviews:: Plastic Operator Different Places

Plastic Operator is an electro pop duo. It's funny how years ago that would have meant keytars, zipper ties and "lameness", but now it usually describes some incredibly catchy music. Plastic Operator is going to draw comparisons to the Postal Service - catchy, floating, electronic melodies, which they certainly can pull of (just listen to The Long Run) - but I find their sound stems from the classic 80's electro acts like the (Pet Shop Boys) and drifts more towards the Morr Music side of the equation. Plastic Operator are rich in ethereal beauty and would easily fit on the same bill Styrofoam or the Go Find. Instead of shying away from the stereotype, The Plastic Operators (Mathieu Gendreau and Pieter Van Dessel) embrace the history of the genre, but freshen it up with a plethora of live instruments to give it a more organic feel.

Different Places is a fantastic record, it really is. There are lots of instant tracks, like Peppermint and The Long Run (the harmonic plucks of the guitar are a great touch) and songs that take a few listens to peel back all the layers. Peppermint uses a nice mix of drum machines rhythms, blips and bleeps and a simple acoustic riff to set the tone of the song and Pieter's vocals draw you in. Home027 uses a darker vibe (note: he rhymes "Chevrolet" and "drive away" which makes this good in my book) and the reverbed sounds add enough chaos and disarray to the song to match the lovesick lyrics.

Parasol starts with a nice clap beat and some heavy, chopped up 80's synth work. As much as I like this song - it's one of the most ear catching tracks on the record - I'm not sure I can describe it in any way that doesn't make it sound horrible, so I won't even try. It's one I'd throw on in my indie-night DJ set (if I had such a thing or more importantly, didn't hate those type of things). The robotic nature of the song and female vocals really breaks up the record at just the right time. The band also tries its hand at the dirty MSTRKRFT style beats (albeit with a more angelic vocal line and a 80's pop feel) on the poppy Singing All the Time, but even that song seems friendly and summery.

While the band is good at creating bouncy pop hooks, they might be better when they slow down the tempo (Couch and Why Don't You?). The subtle sounds they add stand out more and you can focus on each note. The contrast of the slower paced strings and the intense hectic programming of Why Don't You is incredibly enjoyable.

There a couple of weaker moments on the record - I'm not a big fan of the computer-enhanced vocals on Another Sound, and I have to admit they would have been better served to not include the guitar solo that MacCauley Culkin threw down in the beginning of Black & White, but these moments are few and far between.

If you are looking for some light summer fun that makes you smile - you need to grab a hold of the Plastic Operator.
MP3:: Parasols
MP3:: Peppermint


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