If not for splitting from his past projects in 2014 to start his own socially-aware new-wave outfit Operators, and if not for shitting on Pitchfork after they gave his debut album a solid score, then for being ballsy enough to foreshadow what was to come in American politics when most people remained, in hindsight, perhaps a little bit too optimistic.
“You’ve got your rights/At least you thought you used to/Where’s your rights?/Secret police in everything you do” he foretold on “Space Needle,” the final track of Operators’ debut album Blue Wave. And while the album dropped on April Fool’s Day 2016, it wasn’t a message Boeckner was fooling around with.
Although, tweeting “It’s incomprehensible to me that pitchfork thinks anyone, anywhere gives a fuck about this,” about a Pitchfork article about Patrick Carney’s dislike of Lady Gaga single “Perfect Illusion” is honestly quite admirable.
Perhaps if 2016 was kind to anyone, it was kind to Boeckner and Operators, whose album Blue Wave received rave reviews while remaining under the mainstream radar.
Blue Wave is everything that the album’s title sets it up to be: Refreshing, fluid, and chilled to perfection. From the deliciously retro synths in every track of the 10-song debut, to asking around for SmartMedia cards on twitter a few days ago in Toronto (they don’t make them anymore), the entire aesthetic of Operators is rooted in the past, but thematically, the band keeps both eyes on what’s to come.
“Analog post-punk” is how the band labels the entire Operators experience, although anyone with a nose for new wave can sniff out some influences from other indie pioneers. Despite being recorded in an 1850s-era barn in “the middle of nowhere” Ontario, the album reverberates with the smoky verve of a few dozen goth nights gone by.
“I keep nobody close to me,” Boeckner warns (or laments) on “Nobody” per usual stiff-upper-lip frontman behavior. But at his sold-out Brighton Music Hall gig tonight, Boeckner might just have trouble living up to that mantra.
OPERATORS + CHARLY BLISS :: Monday, April 3 at Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave. in Allston, MA :: 7 p.m., 18-plus, $16 :: Advance tickets