The Operators 780 - The Operators 780 (Cover Artwork)

The Operators 780

The Operators 780: The Operators 780The Operators 780 (2004)

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: Sliced-TSliced-T
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Up until their untimely demise in late 2004, the Operators 780 were one of the prairie's best-kept secrets and were poised to break out with their smooth brand of punky reggae on the tip of everyone's tongue. The band managed to build up quite a reputation when word of mouth quickly got around after.
iTunes StoreAmazon

Up until their untimely demise in late 2004, the Operators 780 were one of the prairie's best-kept secrets and were poised to break out with their smooth brand of punky reggae on the tip of everyone's tongue. The band managed to build up quite a reputation when word of mouth quickly got around after 2003's bass heavy, ultra smooth EP Power Version hit the scene via New York punk label Longshot Music. The following summer, the Operators 780 released their self-titled debut to much anticipation on the same label and has been hailed around these parts as one of the best and freshest albums of 2004.

It's blatantly apparent upon the first spin of this disc that the Operators 780 ("780" is the telephone area code for Edmonton, Alberta, where they are from) that their sound is a far cry from the southern California ska-punk pioneered by bands like Sublime and Operation Ivy. The music here is a lot more in line with classic reggae, dub and dance hall. A true love for this kind of music really shines through with this quintet's heavy rhythmic grooves, but the band's influences don't end there. The Operators have managed to blend both the smooth reggae sounds with the angst and intensity of punk rock perfectly without sounding forced or unnatural. Gang vocals slide along with the beats while Eric Budd's raw bark grabs your attention, but doesn't alienate the listener from the mellower experiences.

But the Operators aren't all about providing a relaxed atmosphere for you to put on in the background and bob your head to. They know how to get you off your ass and dancing. At the core of all their songs is a tight, silky rhythm section, but also intricately placed guitar punches, the driving hum of a crooning Hammond organ and a lone saxophone that sings above it all, forcing you to take notice, get up and cut a rug.

There isn't a single dud on this album. Every song is masterfully crafted and careful not to repeat itself. Some of the songs are straightforward and driving, others have the bass guitar in the forefront rumbling everything you own, and others have a unique production reminiscent of the great Lee Perry. But even with all the differences, in no way are the Operators taking you on a schizophrenic tour through their influences, as every song manages to keep that sexy Operators feel.

It is a real shame that the Operators 780 quietly threw in the towel so early into the game. So quietly in fact that many of the scenesters in their hometown didn't even know of the breakup until months later when rumors started popping up on internet message boards for other cities. In such a short amount of time the Operators managed to gain enough enthusiastic notoriety that once their catalogue goes out of print I can imagine it will be come a hot item for collectors as their popularity will continue to grow from word of mouth. Get a copy for yourself know while you still can. I promise that you and everyone you share it with will love the shit out of it.

Hold My Life Too


People who liked this also liked:
Classics of Love - Classics of LoveNOFX - The DeclineToys That Kill - Fambly 42Off with Their Heads - In DesolationI Am The Avalanche - Avalanche UnitedThe Men - Leave HomeVoodoo Glow Skulls - Break The SpellChoking Victim - No Gods / No ManagersFucked Up - Year of the Pig [12 inch]Fucked Up - Year of the Tiger [12-inch]

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mighty_romeo (February 16, 2010)

check it
FREE DOWNLOADS of S/T, Power Version, and unreleased recordings.
don't buy for $9.90 from Itunes the band never made an online distribution agreement

Icapped2pac (February 9, 2005)


Anonymous (February 5, 2005)

That's great to see The Operators reviewed on this site. I gave 'em my "Album of the Year" slot in SEE Magazine.

Anonymous (February 5, 2005)

It sucks they're gone, but we got four very different releases from the Operators, which is prolific for Edmonton.

This is the best experiment in combining reggae and ska, period. All those frat-ska bands should sit up and take notice, but they won't, because they've all moved on to more trendy feeding grounds.

Anonymous (February 4, 2005)

not bad, not bad at all

homie (February 4, 2005)

Great band, great CD and great shows. They will be missed.

Anonymous (February 4, 2005)

This album totally deserves a 10.

Anonymous (February 4, 2005)

fantastic band, I played a show with them in the summer

Anonymous (February 4, 2005)

Okay, yeah, pioneer was totally the wrong word to use in that sentece. I was just named them as a well known example from that south cali sound. I should has said more influentail and not pioneer. When I first wrote it, I only used Op. Ivy as an example, but later thought two examples would have been better and left in the pioneer. But whatever, it's not really the point of the review and it's a shitty genre.

Anonymous (February 4, 2005)

please dont ever refer to sublime as pioners. weiner.

Anonymous (February 4, 2005)

this band will always remind me of the cro-mags....and really horrible dancing. ..i miss them .

Anonymous (February 4, 2005)

I'd totally make out with those mp3s if I could.

Anonymous (February 4, 2005)

Great band to dance to, and nice to see an Edmonton band getting some props. Now if only someone reviews a wednesday night heroes cd...

Exclusive Streams


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go