Cleanly strummed guitar rhythms, lilting lead lines and smoothly delivered vocals are the foundation of ‘The Operator’ EP, the latest effort from Aucklander Apera Woodfine. The five songs highlight Apera’s concise songwriting style. The tracks usually follow a relatively simple structure, but Apera’s point of difference lies in his ability to nicely layer guitar chord progressions, melodies and vocals in a very texturally pleasing way. On the second track Free? the reverb on the vocals is turned up and rain noises are introduced as bookends, creating a very meditative atmosphere. Apera is clearly an open-minded songwriter and the 1:50-minute-long song is a welcome addition on the record highlighting his ability to experiment with sound. However, it is a bit of an oddball track on the record and does come to a bit of an abrupt end. One of the most exciting tracks on the record is Slave, the only one that isn’t self-recorded and produced. With help of Andy Deihl (recording, mixing, drums) and Sam Stretch (bass) of Capgun Studios, the song sports a very groovy, funky intro complete with finger snaps and sliding guitar falls, though it quickly levels out to a style more consistent with the rest of the record – an almost Arctic-Monkeys esque, jumpy chorus hook. The production on the record is very tidy and keeps the songs rolling into each other nicely. Sometimes the record feels a little restrained, particularly on tracks like Slave when the chorus could really bang. The fact that this record is so well put together suggests Apera knows his craft and this record is sure to translate very well to live environments.