Radiant Dawn (Last Gang)
Operators are the brainchild of Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Boeckner, known for the projects Wolf Parade, Divine Fits, Atlas Strategic and Handsome Furs. Wolf Parade are still very much a going concern but, while that band has a conventional indie-rock vibe, Operators are something else entirely.
The first hints of greatness came with the release of EP1 in 2014, followed by the debut full-lengther, Blue Wave, two years later. But it's the majesty of the 14 songs that fill Radiant Dawn that show just how far this group has come.
The Arcade Fire's Tim Kingsbury plays bass on closing track “Low Life,” and that somehow makes sense; while Operators are a far more synth-oriented affair than those fellow Canadians, there's an epic '80s vibe that bridges the gap. They've apparently been touring the world in order to finance their releases and build a fan base, and have been doing extremely well in Eastern Europe.
However they're doing it, it's working. There's a cold, harsh feel to the synth-pop that will appeal to fans of the likes of Depeche Mode and even The Cure but, much like those Brit bands, the mood is never at the expense of the songs. From the opening “Days,” the album carries the listener along on a wave of infectious melodies and lush fills. “I Feel Emotion” and “Despair” are further highlights on a record that honestly has many.
According to the accompanying press release, “The album's nine tracks meld raw analog hardware with Boeckner's distinct voice to create an immersive cinematic sound. Interspersed between the tracks are instrumental intertitles that amplify the album’s 1970s sci-fi dystopian feel.”
That tracks. How the hell he's managed to create a body of work that feels both lush and harsh, God only knows. But this is a special album that will reveal itself, layer after layer like an onion, with every listen.