The first seven and half seconds of ‘Trippple’ feel like the cornerstone to the entire sequence of songs on the new album from Operator Music Band. Track seven of Duo Duo opens with a pulsating nod to the electronic heart at the center of things. Before drums kick in with structure and drive our ears exist in abstraction. Disorientating, overwhelming, delicious. Holy shit, this is good stuff.
We’ve previously heard ‘Slim Spin’ and ‘Mondo’ from the wryly-titled Duo Duo. Mondo, is simply a song that refuses to let you go but even with the expanded tones, and fleshier elements of these two singles could not have suggested the depth that the new album would achieve.
Moving away from the beautiful, but hygienic sounds of Puzzlephonics I & II Duo Duo shows Operator Music Band have evolved to incorporate a more wordy account of themselves. Never shy of lyrics it seems that Jared Hiller and Dara Hirsch have pushed themselves even further to express the urgency of being alive, and to create a world of their own rather than simply reflecting what they see.
‘Practical Action’ illustrates the band’s fondness for systems and procedures; their affair with analog synths and retro-futurism. Instrumentally this is an exercise in bass-line pouts. The drum line here marries the monumental with the understated. “Don’t think that it’s an accident” , warns Hirsch before asking “Is this what you want?”. There’s always an element of playfulness with Operator Music Band, but here the sense of threat is strong. Something needs to be overthrown.
Oscillating between sincere and sardonic Operator Music Band can deliver a touch of heartbreaking connection. ‘Income Outcome’ carries a lyrical sense of dread, reflection, frustration, yet musically we’re all dance.
‘Rex’ is another track where a lounge-style electronica brings the warmest smile while the poetry speaks of the profoundly personal. Formal definitions of a newly calibrated relationship are issued. There is anger, stupidity and morally grey stuff unfolding around the narrator. Anger, nervousness, and the sensation of being emotionally drained are all discussed with painful candor, and yet the music is staggeringly smooth. This kind of confessional feels fresh territory for the band, and they handle it with no jolt, no shock. Things are absorbed into process, and then celebrated.
The emotional range of Duo Duo is a significant part of Operator Music Band’s accomplishment. A sense of spiritual inquisitiveness occupies each track in the sequence. We make no apology for the use of the word ‘spiritual’, since a significant aspect of this album is the ability it possesses to be up-lifting. Rooted in the now, but elevated to ask ‘what else?’.
True, there are moments of concern, dislocation, and depression – as the environment around us is described. But at almost every step the band connect with something greater; they compel to dance, and engage and move beyond. Movement, like that pulsing abstraction of a synth, is key.
Duo Duo has the feeling of an album on which a band find, and claim a sound. This is development of study, technical savvy, and music geekdom, but it moves beyond that – it is an album infused with heart and human passions. The use of synths and shrewd production have offered Operator Music band access to something on the other side.
Closing track, ‘Juice’ is evidence to the whole, a wonderful riff, a vocal to-and-fro from Hirsch and Hiller, and a chance to ‘transcend your reality’… the band underline their intention and move on.
HURRY – BUY – OPERATOR MUSIC BAND MUSIC