Release Date: Apr 1, 2016
Record label: Last Gang Records
The first point is of scale: This era of the album release as cultural singularity leaves little room in our conversations for minor, modest, and frankly inessential records. In this sense, albums like Lemonade, AMSP, TLOP, ANTI, and VIEWS are the deforestation of whole geographic regions, whereas Operators’ debut LP is just another unobserved tree falling. There’s no question that it makes a sound, but sound itself does not signify anything at all.
Two years ago, Operators sold out their first-ever gigs thanks to one Mr. Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs and Divine Fits. With no music to the band's name, scores of people rushed out to shows just to hear what Boeckner was up to, but the resultant dance parties quickly turned the band into must-sees. Rounded out by synth wizard Devojka and New Bomb Turks/Divine Fits drummer Sam Brown, the trio filled the dance-punk void vacated by Boeckner's now-defunct Handsome Furs, and translated their live shows to recorded form with 2014's EP1.On their full-length debut, Blue Wave, the group continue to evolve thanks to sonic and lyrical references to New Order, David Bowie and LCD Soundsystem.
It's ironic that Dan Boeckner sings so specifically about dreaming on four of the 10 songs that make up Operators' full-length debut. While Blue Wave showcases enough synth-centric production to meet all of the requirements to recreate a genre once widely referred to as dream pop, the songs on this album teem with such agitation that it could be the photo negative of that style: nightmare pop. Operators is the latest act from a man who has played vital roles in Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, and Divine Fits.
Near the middle of Operators’ debut LP, Blue Wave, lies “Shape of Things”. It’s a portentous title which cribs from the 1933 H.G. Wells book The Shape of Things to Come, a dystopic portrait of the future that predicted, among its many insights, Germany starting a second world war and the arrival of a modern, panoptic surveillance state. Suffice it to say, Operators frontman Dan Boeckner (of Wolf Parade, Divine Fits, and Handsome Furs fame) holds more than superficial interest in the way the past and future interact.
Dan Boeckner, the Canadian singer/guitarist of indie rock group Wolf Parade is having quite the year. Fresh off the announcement of the reformation of his original group, Boeckner’s side project Operators, now has released their debut full-length album, entitled Blue Wave. Operators seem destined to join the synth-indie-pop consortium that has created so many other bands that have blossomed fruitfully, such as Hot Chip and the recently reunited LCD Soundsystem.
In a recent interview, Dan Boeckner described Operators as an extension of his mid-2000s synth-pop band Handsome Furs - but without any limitations. With Handsome Furs, Boeckner and then-wife Alexei Perry were confined to two voices, a couple of synths and a guitar. Now without a clear sonic mandate, Boeckner and the rest of Operators (drummer Sam Brown and multi-instrumentalist Devojka) can pick and choose from any genre or era they like, and the result is a mix of post-punk riffs, melodic pop and dance music.