The ever prolific Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits) is at it again. Boeckner’s project Operators brings him together with drummer Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks, Divine Fits) and multi-instrumentalist Devojka (since recording the band has also appropriately added Dustin Hawthorne, formerly of Hot Hot Heat).
Blue Wave, the full length follow up to 2014’s release EP1, is an outstanding work of what Beckoner calls “sci-fi dance punk.” Recorded by Graham Walsh (Metz, Viet Cong) in an old barn in southern Ontario, Blue Wave sounds like something that cranked out of the speakers in a dark, chain link adorned bar in the mid eighties, but with a fresh, well-rounded perspective. While the guitars are much more prevalent here than on EP1, the new album also sees Boeckner’s long nurtured fixation with synths and keyboards come to fruition, resulting in consuming sound.
Within the first few seconds of album opener “Rome,” it is also evident that Blue Wave is much more punk than their premier release. It is darker, more aggressive and louder. The upbeat pop of EP1 is not completely abandoned, as it seeps through the chorus of “Rome” and is interspersed throughout other tracks as well. Driven by a steady rhythm, the glitched out second track “Control” is very methodical, until it rises into airy pop that carries the track out. The title track “Blue Wave” is well orchestrated as it slowly builds and then breaks into something huge, feeling much like a cresting wave. “Bring Me The Head” is another synth heavy, sweat soaked number, while guitars and a classic beat are the driving force behind “Evil.” The other-worldly “Space Needle” is the perfect closer, an all encompassing song that fills the room, swirling around your head to a poignant, almost abrupt finish, leaving you breathless and satisfied.
Blue Wave is a convergence of Boeckner’s many sides. It is like the smashing of atoms to create boundless energy. A collision between dark and light, Blue Wave is at once perfect for summer drives with the windows down and late night dance parties. All that matters is that it is played loud and played often.