Brian Dewan is probably best known in indie rock circles as a visual artist and sometime-member of the Music Tapes and Neutral Milk Hotel, but he's been been creating odd little folk (for lack of a better word) songs for upwards of a decade in his Brooklyn studio. His songs have a offbeat, lo-fi vibe similar to his Elephant 6 cohorts, but Dewan's deadpan lyrics and delivery set this record in a category of its own; his zither and autoharp-backed songs manage to twist squishy anatomical details ("The Human Heart," "Cadavers") and psychological case-study ("Loathsome Idols") into something genuinely tuneful and sweet. Dewan's lyrical quirks and old-timey instrumentation might cause some listeners to write this off as a mere novelty record, but to do that would do a disservice to its honesty (however off-kilter) and driving energy. The Operating Theater's weirdnesses never get in the way of its large heart.

  1. Where They Belong
  2. The Human Heart
  3. The Kids
  4. Solomon Grundy
  5. Loathsome Idols
  6. Rumpelstiltskin
  7. Cadavers
  8. The Trial
  9. Flexible Flyer
  10. Sick Day
  11. Fruitless Labors
  12. First Day Of School

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