Operators’ “Blue Wave” A Wave of Expressive Sounds


By Ibn-Umar of Indie Band Guru

Operators is the latest musical project from Canadian songwriter/guitarist Dan Boeckner.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s no mere coincidence. The veteran musician has been in several bands throughout his long 16-year career, including Atlas Strategic, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits and Wolf Parade.

Formed in 2014, Operators consists of Boeckner on guitar, minimalist electronic musician Dejovka, and drummer Sam Brown. That same year, they released their debut album, EP1. The band is back again to set 2016 ablaze with their second album, Blue Wave, out now. Along with that, they’re currently on tour through the country this April.

Operators — New Band, New Sound for Boeckner

The album’s title track is like an actual wave in that it flows over listeners’ with layers of expressive sound. The song is rich with various synthesizer-based sounds and melodies.

The synths are, no doubt, its most prominent feature. However, they do not overburden the song, instead giving it a spacey, atmospheric mood. The lower-pitched, chiming synth sounds mix with Brown’s steady, pulsing drumbeats and cymbal crashes to form a well-paced, bouncy rhythm. The synth riffs and electronic loops dance on top of the rhythm, seeming to collide with each other.

Boeckner’s vocals are just as prevalent as the synth sounds. There’s no sole, easy way to define them. The words that do it best include “echoing,” “beautifully haunting,” and “soulful.” No matter the words chosen, his vocal style helps augment the song’s mood.

Added to this sonic amalgamation are jazzy saxophone screeches played throughout the song. Between 2:20 and 2:44, there’s a short saxophone solo that livens the tune up a bit. In the last minute, Boeckner showcases his guitar chops with some terse, chirping guitar riffs before the whole thing concludes with a nice fade-out.

“Blue Wave” and its namesake album are eclectic, dense, and sonically pleasing. They’re certain to compel listeners to play it again and again.


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